Neuroscience and Multisensory Instruction
Updated: May 14, 2021
This blog was written by Ms Jessica - Class Teacher, Nursery Rosellas
In recent years, there has been an enormous amount of new research in neuroscience and education. Neuroscience is a study of how brain activities affect human behaviour and learning. It has been proven that learning triggers a multitude of brain activity.
To help students have a deeper understanding of their new knowledge, research has suggested that teachers should incorporate multisensory instruction in their teaching (Goswami, 2008, p.389).
Usha Goswami, professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and researcher, gives an example from a study by James (2007, cited in Goswami, 2008) where he takes brain scans of children seeing an alphabet for the first time. The brain scan identified mostly the visual functions of the brain that were heightened. The children were then taught phonemic awareness, to recognize the letter and the formation of the letter. By introducing the different domains of understanding of the alphabet, the brain scans taken after the instructions proved a plethora of brain activity were heightened such as audio, kinaesthetic, and visual functions, just by viewing an image of the alphabet.
Goswami believes that “Learning is Multisensory” (2008, p.389), and by incorporating multisensory instruction in teaching it can develop the learners' understanding of new knowledge in a holistic way.
At Australian International School Bangkok, across the different levels, we practice multisensory instruction, and we believe that “Learning has many forms and is lifelong”, rather than through teacher-centred approach or through repetitive worksheets.
“Our philosophy focuses on encouraging children to explore their environment through play and other learning experiences, expressing themselves through writing, construction, creative and performing arts, media arts, as well as developing their cognitive and manipulative skills.” (AISB STAFF MANUAL SY2020-2021, p. 18)
AISB, 2020. Staff Manual SY2020-2021AISB.
Goswami, U., 2008. Principles of learning, implications for teaching: A cognitive neuroscience perspective. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 42(3‐4), pp.381-399.