Second international School On Mind, Brain And Education

2007, May 22-26

Basic and Applied Topics
in Biological Rhythms and Learning

Directors: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Program officer: MarĂ­a Lourdes Majdalani

Abstract: Luiz Menna-Barreto
Universidade de Sao Paulo. BRASIL

Teaching chronobiology involves developing critical reasoning
To be able to introduce students of all ages to chronobiology, teachers are required to foster critical appraisal of body functions, otherwise the notions of biological rhythmicity will not go beyond the surface of fact lists, unfortunately common in science education. In this intervention I will discuss the issue in two levels: first, the need to start teaching by creating links with the immediate experience of students and second, introducing abstract notions that will replace commonsense assumptions - e.g. naive notions of organisms divested of oscillations. The pedagogic principle advocated involves the creation of an "inner dialogue" in the minds of the students. Several approaches will be suggested in the format of questions (format and style varying according to age bracket) such as: "What is your normal state, awake or asleep?". Suggestions of simple observations of rhythms such as body temperature, sleep/wake and performance will be discussed and some material dedicated to teachers (from elementary to graduate students) will be shown. Positive aspects as well as limitations will be presented for discussion.