Members of the Brain and Education Lab are teaching several courses at Leiden University. See below for a short overview of these courses and for possibilities to get involved in current research projects.

Thesis, Internship and Volunteering in the Lab

Students who are interested in completing a thesis or a research internship in the lab can contact Linda van Leijenhorst (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) The lab regularly has openings for bachelor projects or (research) master theses. We also welcome students who want to gain hands on research experience. Click on the titles below for a description of current projects (2016-2017). Feel free to contact us for more information or a project description in English!

"Transformatief schoolleiderschap voor ouderbetrokkenheid" (in Dutch)

"Rekeninstructie gericht op adaptiviteit en flexibiliteit van strategiekeuzes" (in Dutch)

"Motivations, subjects, and teaching and learning methods"

"Motivation in the classroom"

"How children learn"

"Flexible minds"

"Can we ‘read’ the eye-movement patterns of readers?"

"The role of social cognition in the development of reading comprehension abilities: Evidence from behavioral, eye-tracking, and neuro imaging methods"

"Omgaan met verschillen tussen leerlingen: Differentiatie in de klas" (in Dutch)

"Self-selection learning"

Bachelor Courses (in Dutch)

 

Inleiding in de Pedagogische en Onderwijswetenschappen 2 

Binnen dit vak vallen verschillende colleges over onderwijskunde (onderdeel van deel A). Hierin krijg je inzicht in hoe individuen leren, wat de mentale processen zijn die daarbij een rol spelen en hoe die processen (kunnen) worden beïnvloed. Door te begrijpen hoe leerlingen leren, kan de onderwijspraktijk zich beter richten op en aanpassen aan de unieke kenmerken van leerlingen. Hierbij komt ook de neuropsychologische basis van leren ter sprake.

Zie de e-studiegids voor meer informatie

 

Leren en Cognitie

In deze tweedecursus behandelen we leeftijdgerelateerde veranderingen in het leren, denken en de motivatie van kinderen aan de hand van verschillende theorieën over de (cognitieve) ontwikkeling. Bovendien worden deze wetenschappelijke inzichten toegepast op de ontwikkeling van de vaardigheden van kinderen in specifieke schoolvakken, en zal er aandacht zijn voor de implicaties voor de onderwijspraktijk. Onderwerpen die aan de orde komen zijn onder andere: hoe werkt het geheugen; wat is leren eigenlijk en hoe leren kinderen lezen, schrijven, rekenen en wetenschappelijk denken? En welke rol spelen verschillen tussen kinderen in leerstrategieën, motivatie, intelligentie en achtergrondkennis hierbij?

Zie de e-studiegids voor meer informatie

 

Het Lerende Brein

In deze derdejaarscursus nemen we het fenomeen ‘leren’ onder de loep. De term ‘leren’ houdt in dat een individu informatie van buitenaf verwerkt, opneemt in zijn of haar mentale kennisrepresentaties, en die representaties vervolgens gebruikt om gedrag aan te sturen. Hoe simpel dat ook klinkt, hieraan ligt een complex aan cognitieve processen ten grondslag. Sommige van deze processen zijn automatisch, andere staan onder controle van het individu. In de cursus komen concepten zoals geheugen en executief functioneren, intelligentie en sociale cognitie ter sprake. Daarbij staan recente inzichten uit de neurowetenschappen over hoe het ontwikkelende brein deze processen mogelijk maakt centraal.

Tevens zal de relatie met neurocognitieve aspecten aan de orde komen. Op het gebied van de hersen- en de cognitiewetenschap is in de afgelopen jaren veel fundamentele kennis verworven die potentieel van groot belang is in de praktijk van het onderwijs. Kennis over het goed functioneren van de hersenen – en van mogelijke problemen in dat functioneren – zal in toenemende mate een rol gaan spelen in de inrichting van en beleidsvorming over het onderwijs, in traditionele zowel als niet-traditionele settings.

Diverse nationale en internationale rapporten benadrukken het belang van de relatie tussen cognitieve neuroscience en leren en onderwijs. Daarbij kunnen – zo stellen deze rapporten – pedagogen en andere onderwijsspecialisten van cruciaal belang zijn omdat zij immers beschikken over de kennis van onderwijs en leren.

Onderwerpen die in deze cursus ter sprake komen:
1. Basisprincipes van leren en kennisverwerving.
2. Ontwikkelingsgerelateerde en andere individuele verschillen in leren.
3. Cognitieve-neurologische aspecten van leren.

Zie de e-studiegids voor meer informatie

 

Het Lerende Kind

In deze derdejaarscursus staat het lerende kind in de klas centraal. Hoe leren kinderen in die context en wat speelt daarbij een rol? In deze cursus ligt de focus op de specifieke context waarin wordt geleerd en op factoren in die context die het leren kunnen stimuleren (of afremmen). Interacties in de klas zijn een belangrijke component van de processen in de onderwijspraktijk: zowel interacties tussen kinderen onderling, als tussen een kind en de leerkracht. Een belangrijke vraag is in hoeverre klasseninteracties de motivatie om te leren beïnvloeden. Verschillende didactische benaderingen en instructievormen, zoals samenwerkend leren en directe instructie, brengen een verschillende visie op de klasseninteracties met zich mee en beïnvloeden het leren van kinderen op uiteenlopende wijzen. Een en ander wordt geconcretiseerd aan de hand van didactische benaderingen en instructievormen die toegepast worden in de vakken rekenen en taal/lezen. Ten slotte wordt ingegaan op de mogelijkheden en moeilijkheden van de toepassing van wetenschappelijke inzichten in de onderwijspraktijk in de klas.

Zie de e-studiegids voor meer informatie

 

(Research) Master Courses

 

Learning, Cognition and the Brain

Children have a tremendous potential to learn and benefit from education during their development. The human brain allows this learning to take place but also limits what, when, and how much can be learned. In recent years, research in (developmental) cognitive neuroscience has provided important insights into the workings of the developing mind. This has led to the emergence of a new field ‘Educational Neuroscience’ which aims to build a bridge between the cognitive sciences and education. In this course, students will read theoretical and empirical studies about learning from the fields of developmental cognitive neuroscience, educational neuroscience, education, and cognitive development. Students will gain in-depth knowledge about the challenges and opportunities offered by new techniques to study the brain, and will learn more about the relation between cognitive development and learning.

Course objectives

The aim of this course is to help students gain a thorough understanding of the cognitive and neuropsychological processes that take place during learning, and explore implications for education and instruction.

At completion of the course, students will be able to:
(1) demonstrate in-depth understanding of recent insights in learning and educational neuroscience, 
(2) do so with respect to general learning situations as well as specific areas (e.g., reading, mathematics), 
(3) demonstrate a sound understanding of methodological consideration in the investigation of these processes, and 
(4) discuss and evaluate the implications of knowledge of these processes for educators, teachers, trainers, and policy makers.

For more information see the e-prospectus

 

Learning and Instruction

A big part of children’s development takes place in the context of schools. In this course we will focus on learning and instruction in this context. Understanding how learning and instruction occur – and how they may fail – allows one to identify the conditions that promote reaching the learning goals. In addition, it may lead to improved instructional design and interventions when learning is suboptimal. In this course, students will read theoretical and empirical studies on the psychological processes that take place during learning, and the implications thereof for instructional practices. Students will learn more about topics such as instructional processes and tools, individual differences in learning, learning in specific areas such as reading, science and mathematics, different types of assessment, and motivation for learning. Various research methodologies to investigate these processes will pass by and their relative strengths and limitations will be discussed.

Course objectives

The aim of this course is to help students gain a thorough understanding of the psychological processes that take place during learning, and apply/translate this knowledge to education and instruction.

At completion of the course, students will be able to:

(1) demonstrate in-depth understanding of recent insights in learning, assessment, and instruction;
(2) do so with respect to both general learning situations and specific areas (e.g., reading, science, mathematics);
(3) demonstrate a sound understanding of methodological consideration in the investigation of these processes,
(4) discuss and evaluate the implications of knowledge of these processes for different stakeholders in the educational field.

For more information see the e-prospectus

 

Developing Educational Practices

This course is concerned with developing educational practices in a double sense: it studies backgrounds, meanings and consequences of changes occurring in educational institutions and the educational field, and it takes stock of interventions designed to enhance learning and instruction in such institutions. The Dutch educational system witnesses a period of profound changes under the influence of the turn towards a knowledge society, global competition, technological innovation, new public management, the redressing of social relations between stakeholders in the educational field (teachers, pupils, parents, educational management and the state), and the continuous stream of educational and technological innovations geared towards the improvement of teaching and learning.

Crucial changes are related to the heightened importance of ‘performativity’ (performance of pupils, teachers and schools; methods of testing and assessing, systems of performance monitoring, systems of accountability of educational institutions), the introduction of inclusive education (redressing the balance between regular and special education, catering for special needs students, pupils of different attainment levels, and social and cultural backgrounds), new insights in the field of learning and instruction (for instance pertaining to powerful learning environments including ICT-applications, co-operative learning, peer feedback and assessment, or the role of motivational or neurological processes in pupil learning), and, last but not least, to the teaching staff (the professional status of their work, their professional development, their capacities for both individual and team work) and the organization of educational institutions (their school effectiveness, their role in teacher development, their educational visions).

The course will be organized around the critical study of a selection of such practical changes and innovative designs. It will also analyze evidence-based education as the preferred model of organizing the relationship of educational research and educational practices, and improving education. In this context, it will also deal with background knowledge with regard to educational systems and educational policies.

Course objectives

The objectives of the course are to:
(1) Develop critical awareness and understanding of the theory theoretical backgrounds of and empirical insights about the educational changes and interventions mentioned above and about the educational field;
(2) Appreciate the effects, advantages and disadvantages of these changes and
interventions across a range of contexts;
(3) Acquire and practice skills in the critical analysis and evaluation of these changes and interventions;
(4) Create opportunities for participants to evaluate critically the relevant literature;
(5) Enable participants to develop an understanding of the links and tensions between theory and practice;
(6) Appreciate the complex moral dimensions of developing educational practices.

For more information see the e-prospectus

 

Learning and ongoing evaluation of learning

This course focuses on theory and research surrounding learning and the ongoing evaluation of learning for special needs children in general education settings. The course begins with a description of a data-based, problem-solving approach to the development of effective intervention programs for students with learning and behavioral difficulties. Emphasis is placed on the use of ongoing progress monitoring data to systematically evaluate the effects of instruction on the learning trajectories of special needs children, and to help educators build effective individualized programs for these students. The focus of the course then shifts to the cognitive and neurological processes underlying learning. An emphasis is placed on how such processes affect the ability of special needs children to learn (including both academic and behavioral learning), and on how knowledge of these processes can help to inform educators about the design of instructional programs for students with special needs.

Course objectives

Students will:

(1) Evaluate and discuss research surrounding use of a data-based, problem-solving approaches for the development of intervention programs for students with learning and behavioral difficulties.
(2) Evaluate and discuss research on methods for monitoring the progress of individual students with disabilities.
(3) Describe recent insights into the cognitive and neurological processes of learning for special needs children.
(4) Evaluate and discuss the implications of these recent insights for the improving learning for special needs children.

For more information see the e-prospectus