The Adolescent Brain

The objective of this project is to create a website that presents neuroscientific research on the adolescent brain and highlights how this research can inform classroom practice and policy at both the Ministry and board levels.

Project Category:
Strengthening research brokering work
Topic Area:
Classroom Management, Equity and Inclusion, Health
Ministry Priority
(2011-2013):
Teaching and Learning
Project Lead(s):
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Brief Background:
The objective of this project is to create a website that presents neuroscientific research on the adolescent brain and highlights how this research can inform classroom practice and policy at both the Ministry and board levels. This aligns with the Teaching and Learning Priority identified by the Ministry, with a particular focus on student achievement, especially for those with special needs.
Research Context:
Levin et al. (2010) found that despite recognizing that research should inform practice, the success of interventions to increase the use of evidence, particularly in high schools, has been modest at best. However, research also shows that neuroimages such as MRIs are persuasive to both educators and to the public (Weisberg et al., 2008), and Goswami (2006) has found that teachers are eager to incorporate current neuroscientific research findings into their classroom practice. This would be even more the case if educators had a website that provided access to the latest findings in a format that was accessible to them and was relevant to their own practice. McBride and Todd (2008) found that over 90% of new teachers who had taken a course on the adolescent brain stated that their knowledge of neuroscience research had significantly impacted their classroom practice.
Knowledge Mobilization Activities:
Knowledge mobilization is inherent to this project, as the final product is intended to be an interactive and informative resource for teachers and other stakeholders. To launch the website , a party will be held with interested partners and stakeholders invited. Partners will be asked to share the link on their individual websites and bulletin boards. Representatives from across sectors (including public health, Ontario Medical Association, and television and print media) will also be invited to attend and report on the website . Links will be posted on various social media sites . In addition, television personalities will be contacted. The materials used in the project will also be shared with unions, the Ministry, and other professional networks . Additional links and materials (such as a newsletter) will continue to be generated after the launch of the site and will be disseminated to partner organizations .
Outcomes:
This website will have a major impact on the practices of teachers in Ontario and beyond based on evidence and not on unsystematic opinions. Specific modules with video clips and specific recommendations will assure that research findings are problem focused and in a form that make them memorable and useable by teachers.