Back-to-school classrooms finding their brains as CQUniversity drives global neuroscience education boom

28 January 2021

While 2020 had teachers tapping into technology like never before' CQUniversity Educational Neuroscience expert Professor Ken Purnell hopes 2021 is the year they finally unlock their students' brains.

Professor Purnell says too many teachers are graduating without a scientific understanding of how brains work' and that neuroscience could be the key to getting schools back on track after the disruptions of COVID-19.

The passionate Rockhampton academic has seen a boom in educators exploring Educational Neuroscience' with just on 50'000 students signing up for free CQUniversity short courses on the topic the since the pandemic began.

The four short courses' offered via the FutureLearn study platform' are designed for teachers but are available for anyone with an interest in brain function.

Outlining an evidence-based and cutting-edge understanding of the brain to maximise educational and wellness outcomes' Professor Purnell says the courses show how outline the fundamentals to optimise young brains for learning and teaching.

"The pandemic was a great motivator for teachers to understand more about maximising their efforts with neuroscience'" he said.

"The Educational Neuroscience toolkit also gives educators the best preparation for helping their classrooms to build skills in stress management and grow resilience."

"Interestingly' teachers traditionally learn very little about brain function as part of their formal training' even though the brain is the one organ that they will ultimately be influencing in their careers."

"By providing students with an understanding of neuroscience they can take the learnings to enhance their professional knowledge and practice' especially when it comes to creating and maintaining optimal learning environments.

"This can help to maximise learning outcomes and wellness within a classroom or within other professional settings'" said Prof Purnell.

"By having a strong understanding of brain function' and how we can influence the brain to operate better by removing stress and other emotional barriers' we can improve achievement".

CQUniversity offers the free courses via the FutureLearn platform' and each course requires approximately six hours of study.

CQUniversity is among a handful of universities globally to offer a range of postgraduate courses in Educational Neuroscience' including a Graduate Certificate in Educational Neuroscience and Master of Educational Neuroscience. A professional development short course of 20-hours on The Social Brain is available free from CQU.