Translating Educational Neuroscience in the Schools: A Multi-Tier Service Delivery Model that Meets all Children’s Needs

Principal Investigator (PI): Associate Professor Annabel Chen, Deputy Director, Centre for Research and Development in Learning at Nanyang Technological University (CRADLE@NTU)

Co-PIs: Associate Professor Tan Seng Chee, Deputy Director, CRADLE@NTU; Associate Professor Yeo Lay See, National Institute of Education (NIE); Associate Professor Kenneth Poon, NIE; Betsy Ng, Research Scientist, CRADLE@NTU; Dr Aljunied Sharifah Mariam, Principal Educational Psychologist, Ministry of Education (MOE)
Collaborators: Prof James Bradford Hale, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Teachers are equipped with their respective knowledge domains, but this does not guarantee a thorough understanding of the brain’s structures and functions. Hence, in-classroom transmittal of traditional knowledge may not be totally aligned with the brain-based components of teaching and learning. While there is continued research on bridging neuroscience with educational practice, much remain to be explored about how classroom activities affect the children’s brain development.

In an attempt to help teachers understand brain-based learning to strengthen their teaching skills, the Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU) partners with the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Institute of Education, and Ministry of Education to bring brain literacy programmes in Singapore’s mainstream educational settings.
The project is broken down into a three-tier phase that aims to address the learning needs of Singapore’s diverse primary student population. Two participating schools in this experimental study would be provided with teachers’ brain literacy workshop and consultation services for the schools’ case management teams (CMT) to help the most academically challenged learners.
For standard intervention, only one of the two schools would be given continued consultation services during CMT sessions, and the cognitive hypothesis testing (CHT) model intervention. CHT is a scientific approach to evaluate and understand cognitive and neuropsychological processes along with initial experimental data to develop purpose-driven interventions for learners who did not respond to prior academic interventions. The assessment process in this phase would be personalised to each learner. Only one school receives full dosage of the multi-tier educational neuroscience approach, while the other school receives only partial dosage of the same.
Overall, this research brings neuroscience closer to educational practice, amidst concerns raised by some scholars that there is absolutely zero coherence between the two.  Both fields can potentially synergise to create better impacts to students with various learning styles and responses to interventions.