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Finnish ECEC teachers´ and leaders’ conceptions of educational neuroscience
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Somewhere between education and neuroscience lies the interdisciplinary field of educational neuroscience (EN). Since its emergence, a debate has been ongoing about its ability to transform educational practices by science. The brain is central to learning, therefore, EN has the potential to inform educational theories, practice, and policy. As important as the literature indicates, no studies were found that investigated Finnish educators’ perceptions of EN in developing teachers’ training. Aiming to cover this gap in research, this study aimed to examine Finnish early childhood education and care (ECEC) teachers' and leaders' conceptions of EN and delineate the various ways of conceptualizing it. The study constitutes a phenomenographic investigation of EN by con-ducting semi-structured interviews with 10 Finnish ECEC teachers and leaders who were recruited by snowball and purposeful sampling. The qualitative data collected from transcribing the interviews revealed four categories in which EN is conceived to be 1-useful to the learning process 2-improves the learning process 3-significant to the learning process 4-the whole basis of learning. The study found that EN is significant in informing education, having the potential to improve teachers’ competence, professionalism, and professional agency. Moreover, weaving EN into teachers’ formal education is important and valuable. Furthermore, teachers are interested in learning about EN and prefer it to be presented to them in a simplified way that is directly related to their practices. Findings have practical implications for improving the curriculum of Finnish ECEC teachers, and future research is suggested. ...
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