Infusing Neuroscience Into Teacher Professional Development

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83 Scopus citations


Bruer advocated connecting neuroscience and education indirectly through the intermediate discipline of psychology. We argue for a parallel route: The neurobiology of learning, and in particular the core concept of plasticity, have the potential to directly transform teacher preparation and professional development, and ultimately to affect how students think about their own learning. We present a case study of how the core concepts of neuroscience can be brought to in-service teachers-the BrainU workshops. We then discuss how neuroscience can be meaningfully integrated into pre-service teacher preparation, focusing on institutional and cultural barriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-329
Number of pages13
JournalEducational Researcher
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Drs. Eric Newman, David Redish, and Nick Spitzer for insightful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript and Dr. Michael Michlin for doing additional analysis. Funding for BrainU was provided by the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Research Resources, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Office of the Director, Science Education Partnership Awards R25 RR17315, R25 DA023955, and R25 OD011131; Howard Hughes Medical Institute 72500-522006, MN Department of Higher Education, University of Minnesota Medical School, and University of Minnesota Academic Health Center.


  • mixed methods
  • neuroscience
  • observational research
  • professional development
  • science education
  • teacher education/development


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