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17:45 - 19:00 15 May 2018

What if… we were able to say more about how the brain learns?


Jeffery Hall | UCL Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way | London | WC1H 0AL | United Kingdom

Open to: Alumni | Public | Academic | Student
Admission: Free
Ticketing: Ticketed and Pre-booking essential

Speaker information

Rebecca Allen, Director- Centre for Education Improvement Science, UCL Institute of Education, Professor Rebecca Allen is Director of the Centre for Education Improvement Science at the UCL Institute of Education. She is an expert in the analysis of large scale administrative and survey datasets. Her research explores the impact of government reforms on school behaviour, with a particular focus on school accountability and performance and teacher labour markets. Between 2014 and 2017 she founded and led Education Datalab.
Steven Rose, Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience, the Open University, Following a degree in biochemistry at Cambridge, a PhD in neurochemistry in London and post doc periods in Oxford Rome and London, Steven Rose was appointed Professor of Biology and Director of the Brain and Behaviour Research Group at the Open University at the age of 30 in 1969, where he is now Emeritus Professor of neuroscience. His research has centred on the neurobiology of learning and memory. Throughout his career he has also been actively concerned with the ethical legal and social aspects of developments in science, especially genetics and neuroscience, often working in collaboration with the feminist sociologist of science Hilary Rose.
Catherine Sebastian, Reader in the Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway University of London, Dr Catherine (Cat) Sebastian is Reader in the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway University of London, where she directs the Emotion, Development & Brain Lab. She studied Experimental Psychology (BA) and Neuroscience (MSc) at the University of Oxford before completing doctoral and postdoctoral work in developmental cognitive neuroscience at University College London. Her research focuses on the development of emotional processing and regulation in typically developing adolescents and in adolescents with antisocial behaviour, using techniques from developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience.
Professor Becky Francis, Director, UCL Institute of Education, Professor Becky Francis is Director of the UCL Institute of Education (IOE). She joined the IOE from King’s College London, where she was Professor of Education and Social Justice. Her previous roles include Director of Education at the RSA. Becky has combined academic research and policy work in education throughout her career: she regularly serves as a consultant to the UK government and international agencies on education policy matters, and previously served as Standing Advisor to the Commons Education Select Committee. She is a frequent media commentator on education issues.
Michael Thomas, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Birkbeck, University of London, Since 2010, Michael Thomas has been Director of the University of London Centre for Educational Neuroscience, a cross-institutional research centre which aims to advance translational research between neuroscience and education, and develop practical applications within education. In 2003, Michael established the Developmental Neurocognition Laboratory within Birkbeck’s world-leading Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development. The focus of his laboratory is to use multi-disciplinary methods to understand the brain and cognitive bases of cognitive variability, including intelligence and developmental disorders. In 2006, his research lab was the co-recipient of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education, for the project “Neuropsychological work with the very young: understanding brain function and cognitive development”. Michael is a Chartered Psychologist, Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

The rise of neuroscience within education, as in other spheres, has been dramatic, so much so that accusations of ‘neuro mania’ and warnings about ‘neuro myths’ have become common place. Are we correct to pin our hopes on this field as a means of improving learning and attainment? In this debate we bring together leading neuroscientists and educationalists to reflect on the ‘state of the art’ in (educational) neuroscience, future prospects for the field in providing insights into the learning process and the likely timescales for that, the ethical questions we could be considering now, as well as how we can collectively avoid the worst excesses of ‘neuro-nonsense.'


Kate Thomas
+44 (0)207 612 6056 | ioe.events@ucl.ac.uk


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