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How Teachers Change Students Brains

Burns (2019) writes that as Neuroplasticians, we often don’t think of ourselves as brain changers, but we have an enormous impact on our students’ cognitive development. To understand how educators change the brain we need an understanding of the organ in which we teach. The cerebrum through a process of neuroplasticity fine tunes itself to adapt to the world around us (Burns, 2019). This process is achieved through:

  • Proliferation
  • Pruning
  • Consolidation

What does the brain need to maximize plasticity? 

Teachers can maximise student neuroplasticity through considering the following processes:

  • Content: The “what” of teaching
  • Intensity: The “when” of teaching
  • Methodology: The “how” of teaching.

Burns (2019) then uses the acronym ReNEW to explain some of the important neurological understandings underpinning neural development:

  • Reinforcement,
  • Novelty,
  • Enhanced attention; and,
  • Well-being.

Consider the following reading by Burns I’m a Neuroscientist: Here’s How Teachers Change Kids’ Brains, and reflect on the following questions:

  • How can you as an educator maximise these processes?

  • What adaptions can you make to your learning experiences?


Burns ( Feb 19, 2019). I’m a Neuroscientist. Here’s How Teachers Change Kids’ Brains. Learning Research. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-02-19-i-m-a-neuroscientist-here-s-how-teachers-change-kids-brains

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This article is from the free online course:

Neuroplasticians and Neuromyths

Central Queensland University