DOES NEUROSCIENCE MATTER FOR EDUCATION? click to view complete article
Francis Schrag
Department of Educational Policy Studies
University of Wisconsin, Madison

A fuller understanding of brain development may
help us reinterpret phenomena that ‘‘common sense’’ is liable to misconstrue. Let
me offer one illustration: The onset of adolescence typically brings changes in
sleep patterns. Adolescents tend to stay up later at night and, if allowed to sleep,
tend to wake up in mid-morning. Parents sometimes interpret this new pattern
as laziness or resistance to going to school. A leading sleep researcher who has
studied this phenomenon, Mary Carskadon, traces the change in adolescence to
psychosocial factors that occur in combination with biological changes. She notes
that ‘‘it is not at all unlikely that teenagers are being asked to be awake when the
circadian system is in its nocturnal mode. The students may be in school, but their
brains are at home on their pillows.’’
Let me be clear on this point: data from
developmental neuroscience are not sufficient to determine policy concerning
school start times, but they can and should legitimately inform it. In fact, some

E D U C A T I O N A L T H E O R Y Volume 61 Number 2 2011 pg 234



  1. That´s why!!!!! It is not your fault children, it is your nature!!!!

  2. hola acabo de enterarme de tu pagina y la verdad es que me parece estupendo no sabia de mas personas interesadas en estos temas, aqui tienes un nuevo lector que seguira visitandote mensualmente.

  3. En la página Educación y neurociencia podéis encontrar un artículo interesante con mucha información sobre estas teorías.


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