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      Why Educational Neuroscience Needs Educational and School Psychology to Effectively Translate Neuroscience to Educational Practice


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          The emerging discipline of educational neuroscience stands at a crossroads between those who see great promise in integrating neuroscience and education and those who see the disciplinary divide as insurmountable. However, such tension is at least partly due to the hitherto predominance of philosophy and theory over the establishment of concrete mechanisms and agents of change. If educational neuroscience is to move forward and emerge as a distinct discipline in its own right, the traditional boundaries and methods must be bridged, and an infrastructure must be in place that allows for collaborative and productive exchange. In the present paper, we argue that school psychologists have the potential to fulfill this need and represent important agents of change in establishing better connections between research and practice. More specifically, we use the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) (2020) Domains of Practice to highlight several areas where school psychology can actively support forging connections between neuroscience and educational practice. School psychologists represent untapped potential in their knowledge, skillset, and placement to serve a vital role in building the bridge between neuroscience and education.

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          Most cited references57

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          Design Experiments: Theoretical and Methodological Challenges in Creating Complex Interventions in Classroom Settings

          Ann Brown (1992)
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            How learning to read changes the cortical networks for vision and language.

            Does literacy improve brain function? Does it also entail losses? Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we measured brain responses to spoken and written language, visual faces, houses, tools, and checkers in adults of variable literacy (10 were illiterate, 22 became literate as adults, and 31 were literate in childhood). As literacy enhanced the left fusiform activation evoked by writing, it induced a small competition with faces at this location, but also broadly enhanced visual responses in fusiform and occipital cortex, extending to area V1. Literacy also enhanced phonological activation to speech in the planum temporale and afforded a top-down activation of orthography from spoken inputs. Most changes occurred even when literacy was acquired in adulthood, emphasizing that both childhood and adult education can profoundly refine cortical organization.
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              Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition.

              An emerging body of multidisciplinary literature has documented the beneficial influence of physical activity engendered through aerobic exercise on selective aspects of brain function. Human and non-human animal studies have shown that aerobic exercise can improve a number of aspects of cognition and performance. Lack of physical activity, particularly among children in the developed world, is one of the major causes of obesity. Exercise might not only help to improve their physical health, but might also improve their academic performance. This article examines the positive effects of aerobic physical activity on cognition and brain function, at the molecular, cellular, systems and behavioural levels. A growing number of studies support the idea that physical exercise is a lifestyle factor that might lead to increased physical and mental health throughout life.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                14 January 2021
                : 11
                [1] 1School and Applied Child Psychology, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary , Calgary, AB, Canada
                [2] 2Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary , Calgary, AB, Canada
                [3] 3Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research & Education, University of Calgary , Calgary, AB, Canada
                [4] 4Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute , Calgary, AB, Canada
                [5] 5Department of Educational Studies in Psychology, Research Methodology, and Counseling, University of Alabama , Tuscaloosa, AL, United States
                [6] 6Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto , Toronto, ON, Canada
                [7] 7Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London , London, United Kingdom
                Author notes

                Edited by: Jesus de la Fuente, University of Navarra, Spain

                Reviewed by: Tom Dickins, Middlesex University, United Kingdom; Andrea Paula Goldin, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina

                *Correspondence: Eleanor J. Dommett, Eleanor.dommett@ 123456kcl.ac.uk

                ORCID: Gabrielle Wilcox, orcid.org/0000-0002-9295-2011; Laura M. Morett, orcid.org/0000-0002-1251-7213; Eleanor J. Dommett, orcid.org/0000-0002-6973-8762

                This article was submitted to Educational Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Copyright © 2021 Wilcox, Morett, Hawes and Dommett.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 59, Pages: 7, Words: 0

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                educational neuroscience,school psychology,educational psychology,interdisciplinary,implementation


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