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Neuroscience and education: Promises and pitfalls
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Lee, K. (2003). Neuroscience and education: Promises and pitfalls. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 23(2), 109-119.
Recent findings on the anatomical, physiological, and functional properties of the brain have stimulated debates on whether such findings provide meaningful contribution to education. In this article, I examined one aspect of the interface between neuroscience and education: “brain-compatible” strategies. Although some of these strategies such as providing a balanced diet in a child’s early years are based on sound empirical data, others are based on shakier grounds. In particular, strategies regarding environmental enrichment and stress reduction in the classroom are based on questionable interpretation of the data. Because research in neuroscience is still in its infancy, it is not surprising some early attempts in translating research to practice involve a degree of over-generalisation. At this stage, it may be more beneficial to focus on neuroscience findings that relate to educationally relevant processes. Attention, learning, and memory are all fundamental processes studied in both disciplines. Research in neuroscience offers not only additional knowledge about such processes but also tools and methods that will allow us to refine our theories and, eventually, practice.
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Asia Pacific Journal of Education. The published version is available online at
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