Institute of Education


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

15 May 2018, 5:45 pm–7:00 pm

IOE Debates how the brain learns

The rise of neuroscience within education has been dramatic; 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?

Event Information

Open to



Kate Thomas


Jeffrey Hall
UCL Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way
United Kingdom

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'. 

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  • Becky Allen, Director of the Centre for Education Improvement Science, UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
  • Steven Rose, Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience, the Open University
  • Catherine Sebastian, Reader in the Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Michael Thomas, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Birkbeck, University of London
  • Chair: Becky Francis, Director, UCL Institute of Education

The IOE Public Debates: What if… series

Through this series we'll be bringing together a range of commentators - academics, politicians, practitioners, policy wonks - and pushing them to bring some radical new thinking to some of the apparently intractable issues within education, not least the English education system.

Join the conversation on Twitter at #IOEDebates.


In association with TES