Author Profile/Books & Other Publications on Education

Book on Educational Neuroscience

Programming the Brain: Educational Neuroscience Perspective – Pedagogical Practices and Learning Skills for Enhanced Learning and Metacognition

Blurb

An educator with a background in engineering and education, Dr. Chandana Watagodakumbura has dedicated his life to understanding what makes individuals learn better. Now, he shares his findings in the inspiring Programming the Brain: Educational Neuroscience Perspective, a deeply insightful and intellectually stimulating look at how humans learn and the ways we can create a more enhanced approach to education.

 In order to fully grow as a human being, it is essential to remain a lifelong student—an individual who passionately and consciously pursues education. But how do we deeply take control of our lives in order to enhance daily learning? What is there to learn about the neurological makeup of our brains that can help us achieve optimal growth?

Dr. Chandana Watagodakumbura uses his extensive experience as an educator to help us tackle these large concepts in tangible, easy-to-follow ways. With a focus on metacognition and neuroscience, Programming the Brain: Educational Neuroscience Perspective helps students and educators alike develop skills that can transcend disciplines and all areas of life. It is possible to achieve deep, meaningful growth throughout your life.  

Independent Reviews for the Book

Kirkus Book Reviews – June 2017

“Watagodakumbura (Educational Neuroscience/Central Queensland University; Education from a Deeper and Multidisciplinary Perspective, 2013) argues that advances in education haven’t kept pace with advances in neuroscience.

The author builds on the subject of his first book by taking the latest research on neurology and learning and extending it a bold step further—to teaching. He opens with the notion that all human brains are unique and malleable, to the extent that every person has his or her own unique way of learning, and that we continue to learn new things throughout our lives. Education, he argues, works counter to such neurological individuality by forcing students to conform to rigid teaching and testing structures, which may turn off even the most gifted students. Part I sets the stage for his thesis with a meticulously detailed primer on how brain anatomy relates to cognition and learning. Part II surveys modern educational techniques through the lens of neuroscience. These sections offer academic rigor and complex sentence structures that may confuse some readers who lack a formal science background. Yet, by the end of Part II, the author’s prose become clearer as he makes an impassioned plea for the acceptance of neurodiversity in education. From there, Part III brings to bear the latest neuroscience research on existing educational practices. Teachers who are interested in deepening their knowledge of alternative educational methods may therefore benefit from skimming the first two parts and reading the third more carefully. Overall, though, Watagodakumbura makes a convincing case that everyone is wired differently for learning, and children who are taught in ways that allow for this fact will blossom intellectually. The book raises intriguing questions about what it truly means to be different in an educational system that demands conformity.

A sometimes-difficult but thoroughly researched work that offers a fresh angle on improving education.”

Self-Publishing Review (SPR) – Barbara Scott – February 2017

“Educational neuroscience is a relatively new field, and one that is expertly explored in Programming the Brain: Pedagogical Practices and Study Skills for Enhanced Learning and Metacognition. A PhD engineer and academic who teaches computer science at Australia’s Central Queensland University, Dr. Chandana Watagodakumbar’s premise, intelligently and comprehensively set forth, is that just as computers are programmed to “learn” in a specific way, the principles of neuroscience can offer a useful modality for teaching humans.

Programming the Brain comprises an introduction to neuroscience and its implications for how we access knowledge; an examination of learning related concepts widely employed in schools; and a survey of these generally accepted teaching and study practices in comparison to types of education arising when principles of neuroscience are brought into the picture. Noting that “we see a physical growth of brain structures…due to learning,” Watagodakumbara examines the possibilities for teaching based around natural brain functions, which allow people to learn and adapt “on the fly,” as distinct from the currently accepted pedagogical approach that calls for explicit knowledge force-fed within a rigidly set time frame.

Utilizing terminology from three disciplines—computer technology, neuroscience and academia—Watagodakumbara begins his treatise by describing the physical structure of the brain and what happens when humans learn. He stresses the importance of memory in learning – mere grasping of facts is insufficient without memory that allows for regurgitating facts when tested, or intuitively evincing them in real life situations. One significant factor in the neuroscientific approach that is lacking in standard approaches is the inclusion of emotional parameters, in addition to the purely intellectual, which is core to the author’s emphasis.

The book addresses both average and gifted learners, stating that the latter often lose out in the current system, forced to narrow their creative focus instead of being rewarded for their broader scope of learning abilities. The larger message is that educators need to “slow down to take a deep breath,” reducing the emphasis on “fast learning” aimed at narrow employability specializations, and instead consider the integrative learning possibilities inherent within educational neuroscience – possibilities that can promote balanced emotions and greater general awareness. This reset offers the promise of education that is less specifically achievement-oriented and time-driven, and more fulfilling.

Watagodakumbara is passionate about his subject matter, couching it at times in language akin to a personal mission. In the view of the author, educational neuroscience is to standard educational models as organically-grown food is to fast food. The book is at times heady and technical, but given Watagodakumbara’s passion for the subject, he is ultimately persuasive about his thesis.

That said, more could have been done to gear this book to the layman. It would have been helpful to include more illustrative graphs and diagrams (there are a handful) for those new to these concepts, which would serve to break up the compact, almost encyclopedic material. The third part of the book is somewhat repetitive as well (though the author freely admits this in his introduction), as it necessarily recapitulates earlier sections to develop the final thesis. Nonetheless, the overall result is a statement of innovative, potentially groundbreaking theories that are both logical and valuable.

A comprehensive work of scholarship, Programming the Brain should be of considerable interest to open-minded, future-thinking learners and educators.”

4 Stars 

CreateSpace (Publisher) Editor – Joel – December 2016

In this ambitious manuscript, you conduct a thorough examination of the process of learning, in a context of cognition and metacognition, through the lens of neuroscience and neuroplasticity. The book reads like an advanced college-level textbook or a doctoral thesis and is recommended for those with a working knowledge of neurobiology and a background in pedagogical techniques. Certainly no one can fault you for lack of thoroughness; you approach the subject from multiple angles and include exhaustive research from sources dating back as far as 1890. The book does justice to its thesis.

The manuscript has a very scholarly tone, and it maintains this tone consistently. Your goal is the conveyance of information, and you do so efficiently and effectively. The information is very densely packed, and the factual material comes fast and steadily.

Your documentation of sources was meticulous, and with more than two hundred references in your bibliography, no one can say you didn’t do your homework.

You have quite an achievement here, particularly because you’re coming at neuroscience from a tangential discipline. You make many good points and offer readers a great deal to think about when it comes to thinking.

Good luck in your revision, and I wish you all the best for this manuscript and future books.

Manhattan Book Review – Jo Niederhoff – April 2017

I was intrigued by Dr. Chandana Watagodakumbura’s suggestions in Programming the Brain. The book itself is excellently laid out, opening with an explanation of the structure of the human brain and how those structures may relate to learning. Anyone without a background in neuroscience will want to take this part of the book slowly, as the author gives very technical descriptions that might be lost on someone who is only casually interested in the subject. Pop science this is not. However, with some patience and a handy reference like Wikipedia, even a layperson can get a great deal out of the first section.

The real meat of the book comes in the latter section, when the author explains how this knowledge would be best applied. This is probably the section that will be of most interest to people picking up the book, whether they are educators looking for another way to teach or simply someone, like me, who is interested in theories of education. Overall, his reasoning is sound, though he relies very heavily on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which, while that is a strong basis that the author builds on skillfully, is not something that everyone agrees with.”

“In short, while this book is one laypeople may struggle somewhat to get through, I think it may prove to be anywhere from informative to invaluable to educators.”

San Francisco Book Review – Amy Synoracki – April 2017  

“The brain is considered by many to be the most amazing organ within the human body. It controls both voluntary and involuntary functions. It also allows people to obtain, process, and use knowledge about various topics with which is it presented. In the book Programming the Brain: Educational Neuroscience Perspective – Pedagogical Practices and Study Skills for Enhanced Learning and Metacognition, by Chandana Watagodakumbura, the topic of both the physical make-up of the brain, as well how it obtains, process, uses, and retains information, are discussed. Geared toward an audience of educators, Programming the Brain presents how different parts of the brain function, how information is learned, retained, and used and how the two work together to accomplish this. Studies and theories, such as Bloom’s Taxonomy, studies by Karl Jung and others, are also added into this book to explain why the author’s theories and research have come to the conclusion of how to best teach information so that it is both understandable and retainable.”

“Programming the Brain is definitely a book that is geared toward an academic audience. The layout, referral to research, and text present this book as one that would be used in a pre- or post-graduate college course or for continuing education classes and/or workshops for teachers. A lot of information and research is laid out in this book with references dating back to the 1950s through the 2010s. While this book contains a lot of information, as well as suggestions for how to best utilizethe parts of the brain, along with teaching methods to obtain optimal learning and recall, the span of sources seems too broad.”

“Overall, this book earns a solid 3 stars because the information is correct and relevant…”

Book on Education


Education from a Deeper and Multidisciplinary Perspective – For a Sustainable Development of the Neurodiverse Society – A Futuristic View

Blurb

Have you ever conjectured deeply on the goals of education in general? What could be the ideal education an individual can receive? Will education only have a focus on an employment or career path, or will character or humanistic development that results in a deeper perception of reality be part of it? Do we have a better form of education than what we have currently perceived? In this book, the author attempts to answer the above questions identifying some of the less obvious limitations of our current pedagogical and social practices. In what he terms as authentic education, the author presents a deeper and multidisciplinary approach to education in which learners are uniquely identified and characterised based on their psychological and neurological traits in order for them to be sent through individualised learning plans spanning the whole life. In an integrated approach to education and human development, individual differences are given special attention and accommodations are made for all-round humanistic development enhancing creativity and wisdom in day-to-day life operations. Better educated human beings in this way would become better decision makers or problem solvers and more empathic and content personalities. Such an authentic education system has the promise of providing solutions to some of our long-standing social problems.

Independent Reviews for the Book

Australian Universities’ Review(AUR) – Dennis Bryant, September 2015

“If you have ever concluded that the fabric of higher education is sagging, perhaps even irreparably sagging, then you will be buoyed by this book because it provides a vision for repairing the damage through a reorientation process. On first glance, you might think that Watagodakumbura’s vision relies too heavily on humanistic philosophy, but that is not the case. While he uses humanistic philosophy, Watagodakumbura’s contribution is to align (he prefers the term ‘synthesise’) a range of earlier research into a single vision, driven of course by humanistic philosophy.”

“He aligns Bloom’s taxonomy; the Myers-Briggs type indicator; Maslow’s Theory of Self-Actualisation; as well as Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration and the concept of Psychoneurotics. To these, he adds Kolb’s theories of cerebral cortex functions, especially in terms of left hemisphere brain functions (which Wotagodakumbura terms ‘Auditory Sequential learning style’) versus right hemisphere brain functions (which he terms ‘Visual Spatial learning style’). All in all, it is a breath-taking undertaking that should revitalise your ideas on what positive advancements could come to pass in higher education’s teaching and learning.”

“I recommend his book because it does provide inspiration at a time when academics are being measured for their perspiration and not their contribution of aspiration to students. It is timely.”

San Francisco Book Reviewer – Brett Peterson, May 2015

Star Rating: 4 out of 5

“/Education from.. / by Chandana Watagodakumbura is the plea of an Australian academic for education to shift from the industrial, mass-produced experience familiar to most people in Western countries to something more authentic, personal, and real. The book .. moves on to chart an alternative approach based on individualized education that is learner-centric, rather than teacher-centric, that recognizes and builds upon each students’ individual proclivities and neurology, and that leads toward self-actualization rather than economic maximization.”

“The author has assembled an excellent introduction and case for his alternative educational ideal. For anyone frustrated by the current educational system, this text will be very encouraging.” 

“That said, for those interested in education reform, /Education from.. / is well worth the read. It is more of a manifesto than an academic overview of the field, but as such it succeeds very well. The work inspires, provokes moral thought, and grapples with intriguing and pertinent questions that, all too often, are entirely absent from public debate concerning the value and purpose of education as a whole. In an era when the very idea of a liberal arts education is under very close scrutiny, /Education from.. / provides a welcome analysis of education as a process for the heart and soul rather than (but not in exclusion of) one primarily for the wallet.”

“Students and instructors in sociology and philosophy of education courses will find this work an excellent starting point for discussion, as will students beginning instructional design courses in graduate school. The work will be especially of interest to educational psychology students, those holding or seeking public office, and .. involved in international educational development; .. the work leads readers to ponder questions pertinent to a wide variety of professions and areas.. It is an excellent introduction to the core ideas behind education reform ..”

Clarion Book Review – Thomas H. Brennan, August 2014

“An examination of pedagogical philosophies offers insights for teachers and policymakers.”
“In chapter 1 the author discusses his concept of authentic education, a system “essentially viewed from a multidisciplinary perspective,” and criticizes the present state of education as grade oriented rather than focused on students understanding and mastering the content.”

”The next three chapters are excellent summaries of some of the more influential educational theories of the mid to late twentieth century. Chapter 2 examines the psychological aspects of education with an emphasis on Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences and Abraham Maslow’s theory of self-actualization. Chapter 3 tackles pedagogical viewpoints—Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy and the constructivist theories” “Chapter 4 discusses the physiological and psychological aspects of education and the insights gained from computer science, primarily the comparison of human and artificial intelligences.”

“In the second half of the book, the author presents his case for authentic education in different situations, particularly gifted education and special-needs programs, and he criticizes some present educational practices. Although the author’s experience is primarily with the Australian school system, his observations could apply equally to the United States.”
“The author advocates a shift in perspective. He notes, for example, that “we need a unifying approach to education with a common goal, rather than compartmentalising through special programmes; that is, everyone needs to engage in a lifelong process of reaching a higher level of human development.” He suggests that “what we need is a more integrated, value-added solution to our pedagogical issues so that we are more motivated and inclined to implement with a matter of urgency.” “

“While his analysis might interest general readers, this book is intended for educational professionals in leadership roles with a background in contemporary learning theory.”

Blueink Book Review, August 2014

“Chandana Watagodakumbura, an engineer with training in higher education, is concerned about a problem that has plagued educators for time immemorial: that children who are labeled as “gifted” all too often do not become high achievers; rather, they are routinely left behind by the educational system.”

“Watagodakumbura’s prose is dense and theoretical, but delivered with the passion of a frustrated parent wanting the best for a bright child who he feels has been ignored. As a result, his “Authentic Education” has a ring of sincerity that other theory-laden books about gifted children do not.”

“this book can easily be recommended for the author’s novel and passionate approach to identifying gifted students, arguments which will surely fuel debate on the subject.”

Kirkus Book Review, August 2014

“A high-minded pedagogical treatise on the need and methodologies for imparting a deeper, authentic education that takes into account natural aptitudes and neurological diversity.”

“Debut author Watagodakumbura, an academic from Melbourne, Australia, with degrees in engineering and education, draws on writings of psychologists Kazimierz Dabrowski and Abraham Maslow, as well as others, in critiquing traditional one-size-fits-all educational practices that fail miserably to maximize human potential. A central problem, the author says, is that traditional “sage on the stage” education favors students who tend to do most of their learning using the left hemisphere of the brain. These analytical, left-hemisphere types, constituting at least two-thirds of humanity by some estimates, are neurologically biased to learn best with auditory, sequential inputs, i.e., the unadorned lecture format that serves knowledge cold. They also tend to be extroverts and implementers, but their learning may lack depth and too often involves little more than short-term memorization and factual regurgitation on exams. Not so for the smaller group of right-hemisphere thinkers, a category that seems to include a disproportionate share of gifted and high-potential individuals. These slower, more introverted, deeper thinkers do best with visual and spatial inputs, and they exhibit integrative, synthesizing big-picture abilities. They suffer in—and may be stunted for life by—left-hemisphere educational systems and jobs.” 

“Author calls for early identification of a student’s learning style on this right-left hemisphere spectrum. “. For all students, he says, an education that fires up both hemispheres leads not just to better academic performance, but better, more content and empathetic people.”

“And the author’s proposal for top-down government imposition of this authentic education framework seems beyond the pale. Hemispheric food for thought, intellectually titillating if not always savory.” 

Invited Blog on “Author Inspirations” – September 2015

“I would like to question our approach in the presence of emerging findings from the disciplines of neuroscience, psychology, neurology and pedagogy (or from the emerging collective discipline/term of educational neuroscience). We have identified predominant learning preferences in individuals such as visual-spatial and auditory-sequential abilities (as referred to by Linda Silverman). In the theory of multiple intelligences (as put forth by Howard Gardner), a number of different abilities individuals can possess, such as verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal etc. are identified. Neurologically, individuals can demonstrate different degrees of overexitabilities (as referred to by Kazimierz Dabrowski) such as intellectual, emotional, imaginational, psychomotor and sensual overexitabilities.

Learning is identified as making connections between one’s existing knowledge-base and the new knowledge he or she gets exposed to. When learners make these connections, the neural networks in the learner’s brain grow denser. Most importantly these neural networks continue to grow so long as you use them effectively (as initially presented by Donald Hebb), and further, they can grow throughout one’s lifespan. Human consciousness (As mainly presented by Gerald Edelman and Giulio Tononi) grows when neural networks in the hemispheric cortices develop and with that we achieve human development, so to speak. Through this higher level of consciousness, learners are believed to develop wisdom as a higher form of creativity, integrating knowledge from multiple domains. Consequently, developing wisdom in our individuals, by helping them to create neural connections among different parts of the brain, should be our ultimate goal in the education system we use; this is what we are capable of achieving biologically or from the point of view of neuroscience, as human beings.”

My Journal Publications that Subsequently Lead to Writing Books

Validity, Lasting Outcomes and Fairness of Learner Assessment from the Perspective of Educational Neuroscience – March 2017 (Link)

International Journal of Education, Macrothink Institute, Nevada, USA 9(1), 67-90

When setting up assessments, additional viewpoints that need to be considered by viewing from the standpoint of educational neuroscience are discussed in this article. Learner assessment performed in any teaching-learning environment should produce valid and lasting outcomes. The validity of assessment indicates that the results generated represent the learner characteristics reliably using any strengths and weaknesses. The lasting feature of assessment entails that the results are associated with learner characteristics rather the environmental factors. When learner characteristics are identified in this manner, appropriate measures can be taken to improve on any weaknesses identified while at the same time relying or staying motivated on the strengths. It is imperative that educators make use of the findings from the emerging field of educational neuroscience to design and construct assessment producing valid and lasting outcomes. In educational neuroscience, how the human brain and related structures engage in learning processes is studied. By incorporating this useful information into teaching-learning processes, learners can be put on a path to creating useful, lasting memories, across disciplinary boundaries, to lead them to higher levels of human development yielding wisdom and consciousness. When assessments produce valid and lasting outcomes, they essentially become fair for all types of learners including the gifted learners who demonstrate right cerebral hemisphere oriented visual-spatial characteristics that include higher sensitivities such as emotional sensitivity. 

Principles of Curriculum Design and Construction Based on the Concepts of Educational Neuroscience – March 2017

Journal of Education and Learning, Canada Centre of Science and Education, Canada, 6(3), 54-69

With the emergence of a wealth of research-based information in the field of educational neuroscience, educators are now able to make more evidence-based decisions in the important area of curriculum design and construction. By viewing from the perspective of educational neuroscience, we can give a more meaningful and lasting purpose of leading to human development with enhanced consciousness or wisdom as the goal of a curriculum. We can better decide on the essential contents of a curriculum that is carried out within a limited time, using the emerging and validating information. Knowledge of educational neuroscience can also be used effectively for instructional design or conveying important messages to learners in the learning support material provided. Further, educators can be better directed in forming appropriate assessment so that learners are prepared for active and deep engagements in the teaching-learning process developing the skills of independence and discovery learning. Educational practitioners, as well as policy-makers, can also promote inclusive practices by directing, designing and constructing a curriculum appropriately especially taking into consideration the characteristics of right cerebral hemispheric oriented visual-spatial or gifted learners. Overall, education professionals can be benefited immensely to take more informed decisions in the process of curriculum design and construction by embracing emerging educational neuroscience principles.

Reviewing the Purpose of Education and Challenges Faced in Implementing Sound Pedagogical Practices in the Presence of Emerging Evidence from Neuroscience – November  2015

World Journal of Education, SCIEDU Press, Canada, 5(6), 23-36

The field of neuroscience has been evolving constantly and at a rapid pace in the recent past. Consequently, neuroscientists have put forth a wealth of knowledge in relation learning and education in general. In this context, how can we as educators benefit from the emerging evidence from neuroscience so that we can take a significant step forward in improving our pedagogical practices? We can take a deeper and reflective look at our existing pedagogical knowledge base and engage in implementing necessary changes in such a way that we can guide our learners to reach their full potential. By reaching full potential, we mean enhancing creativity and wisdom in our day to day life operations, thus developing more empathic and content personalities devoid of psychological disorders. In the presence of emerging evidence, we can be better organised and take more educated decisions in planning our curricular, assessment and content delivery methods to achieve enhanced learning. We certainly face some challenges, especially in changing from some practices that were used widely and for a prolonged time. However, taking this courageous step forward would help us to be more sustainable in our educational systems as well as society at large. In this regard, this paper discusses some emerging neuroscience-based concepts relevant to learning and education in general, the significance of these concepts and some suggestions on how they can be incorporated in our pedagogical practices.

Some Useful Pedagogical Practices: Educational Neuroscience Perspective – November 2015

Journal of Studies in Education, Macrothink Institute, Nevada, USA 5(4), 191-221

We have reviewed the goals of education by approaching them from the direction of educational neuroscience; through education, we have to achieve the transfer of learning in order to produce individuals who are better problem solvers and decision makers. To achieve this goal, learners will have to transform what they have learned explicitly into implicit memories and vice versa by attaching sense and meaning, ideally across multiple domain areas. Further, through education, we enhance learner consciousness and/or wisdom that give abilities to spontaneously recall retained memories readily, whenever necessary. Some pedagogical practices that are useful in achieving the above goals are identified. When new contents are presented to learners, high-level, generalised concepts need to be emphasised; concepts are likely to penetrate through multiple domain areas and last longer in memory, thus helping learners to attach sense and meaning better. In order to reach out to multiple brain regions, inducing creativity, we need to get frontal lobes involved essentially, with an appropriate pace and form of presentation. The important task of motivating learners can be done by presenting learners with educational neuroscience facts that can be enlightening; even difficult content can be mastered by simply paying attention fully and through elaborate rehearsal; human brains have the feature of neural plasticity, and neural networks can grow throughout the lifespan through effective learning. When setting assessment, we should focus on open-ended, novel and conceptual/generalised questions so that learners use their frontal lobes, engaging in a higher-order, divergent and/or inductive thinking process to provide answers.

Reflecting on Learner Assessments and Their Validity in the Presence of Emerging Evidence from Neuroscience – May 2015

Higher Education Studies, Canada Centre of Science and Education, Canada 5(3), 58-65

We can now get purposefully directed in the way we assess our learners in light of the emergence of evidence from the field of neuroscience. Why higher-order learning or abstract concepts need to be the focus in assessment is elaborated using the knowledge of semantic and episodic memories. With most of our learning identified to be implicit, why we should make use of the constructivist theory in assessing learners becomes quite evident. Why we need to deviate from setting assessment on the basis of veridical decision making and the need incline towards adaptive decision making become evident when we understand that most of our life decisions are adaptive in nature and human beings naturally possess creative instincts. When assessments are used to direct learners to use the frontal lobes, the organ of civilisation, more, the requirement of more carefully designing the timing component of assessment arises. After all, it is important to understand that enhancing learner consciousness and wisdom is key when we understand the prime goal of education is to enhance the human development of learners so as to enable them to be better problem solvers.

Identifying Sound Pedagogical Practices Based on Findings from Neuroscience – May 2015

International Journal of Education, Macrothink Institute, Nevada, USA 7(2), 146-159

We have identified goals of education by viewing them from the point of neuroscience;  through education, we have to produce individuals who are better problem solvers and decision makers. To achieve this goal, learners will have to transform what they have learned explicitly into implicit memories and vice versa. Further, through education, we enhance learner consciousness and wisdom. Some pedagogical practices that are useful in achieving the above goals are presented. When new contents are presented in a teaching-learning environment, high-level concepts need to be highlighted; the concepts are likely to penetrate through multiple domain areas thus helping learners to form better neural networks of knowledge. In order to reach out to multiple brain regions, we need to get the appropriately; as the frontal lobe connects to many brain regions, the processing occurs relatively slowly. The important task of motivating learners can be done by presenting learners with neuroscience-based facts about learning; even difficult content can be mastered by simply paying attention elaborately; human brains have the feature of plasticity and through learning, neural networks can grow throughout the lifespan. Taking into consideration the phenomenon of binocular rivalry – human brains can concentrate only on one thing at a time fully- we should encourage learners to engage in the discussion in a teaching-learning session fully. When setting assessment, we should focus on open-ended, novel conceptual questions so that learners use their frontal lobes connecting many other regions as well.

Improvements to Student Learning Through Multidisciplinary Perspectives Reviewed from the Dimensions of Analytical Psychology – July 2014

International Journal of Education, Macrothink Institute, Nevada, USA 6(3)

In this paper, we look at some previously presented improvements to student learning through multidisciplinary perspectives (Watagodakumbura, 2012, 2013a, 2013b) from the viewpoints of analytical psychology. Diverse psychological and neurological student characteristics presented are evaluated from the viewpoints of psychological types presented in analytical psychology. Deep or higher-order learning is paralleled with the phenomenon of enhancing conscious sphere in which contents from the unconscious are brought to consciousness. Feeling and intuition psychological types are inferred to play an important role in this regard. Further, feeling and intuition conscious functions are identified to involve significantly when abstract concepts are learned and hence take relatively a longer time. The process of enhancing the conscious sphere directs individuals towards higher levels of human development. Developing creative instincts of learners through higher levels of human development is inferred to be achieved only by allowing learners to undergo a complete, balanced learning cycle in which all conscious functions of sensing, thinking, feeling and intuition are given due attention. That is, both dominant and inferior functions play important roles.

Benefits of Authentic Education with Multidisciplinary Perspectives from the Viewpoints of Analytical Psychology – May 2014

Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal (ASSRJ), Society for Science and Education, UK, 1(3), 175-194

The authentic education system highlighted in this paper provides a unique learning experience to individual learners, specifically by addressing their psychological and neurological needs; assessment of learners are done through generic attributes that have more validity and relates to intrinsic learner characteristics, lasting throughout the life span. The psychological types or conscious functions defined in analytical psychology provide additional insights into learner classification and identifying appropriate generic attributes. In the authentic education system described, learners are encouraged to pursue higher-order learning sending them through a complete learning cycle; this engages learners deeply to the task and provides a lasting experience, enabling individuals to reach their full potential. Learners are encouraged to pursue an individuation process as described in analytical psychology towards a higher level of human development; that is the shadow, or the inferior functions are directly addressed enabling the path towards the concept of the self. Through authentic education, we get to value human resources much more than related economic aspects, making a significant difference to our current approaches and focus; it has the promise to effect a significant positive social change towards a sustainable development. In this regard, the viewpoints from analytical psychology as a framework for human development provide additional justifications.

Authentic Education, the Deeper and Multidisciplinary Perspective of Education, from the Viewpoint of Analytical Psychology – May 2014

World Journal of Education, SCIEDU Press, Canada, 4(3), 19-28

In this paper, the authentic education system defined with multidisciplinary perspectives is viewed from an additional perspective of analytical psychology. Analytical psychology provides insights into human development and is becoming more and more popular among practising psychologist in the recent past. In addition to human development frameworks already used in defining the mentioned authentic education system, the new viewpoint from analytical psychology further justifies and validates the concepts and features presented in describing the system. The main concepts of analytical psychology such as conscious/unconscious, psychological types, the shadow, the self and archetypes are used in elaborating further on the concepts and features of the authentic education system with multidisciplinary perspectives. Consequently, much broader perspectives of the authentic education system discussed are highlighted in this paper

The Need to Address Psychological and Neurological Characteristics of Learners in the Mainstream Education System – February 2014

Journal of Studies in Education, Macrothink Institute, Nevada, USA 4(1)

Individual learners can be characterised based on their psychological and neurological characteristics, such as visual-spatial and auditory-sequential learners, extroverts and introverts or multiple intelligences. These differences go a long way in how successfully individuals learn and engage in their careers. However, our contemporary educations systems do not give due attention to these differences in satisfying individual requirements. For example, the issues related to high sensitivities of gifted and creative individuals being inadequately addressed in the mainstream education system are extensively highlighted in the literature. Due to lack of support from the education and social systems, individuals fall behind in the process of self-actualisation. According to researchers, it appears that we focus mainly on instructing the learners’ left hemisphere of the brain, paying little attention to the right hemisphere. In this paper, the author highlights the need to make learners use both hemispheres of the brain through appropriate instructions and methodologies, despite some having preferences to using one half. Addressing psychological and neurological needs of the learners while accommodating them to use both brain hemispheres would put individuals into a self-actualising path that develops creativity and wisdom. In essence, as general educators, we develop awareness into the concept of neurodiversity.

Improving from our Current Practices in Education in the Presence of Inputs from Multiple Disciplines – December 2013

International Journal of Technology and Inclusive Education (IJTIE), Infonomics Society, UK, 2(2), 167-175

In this paper, we discuss some of the limitations of our common practices as educational practitioners. We may not address the needs of a neurodiverse society. Instead, we may incorrectly assume idealistic individuals to exist. There are some areas related to assessment that we can improve on following some reflections. We may fail to thoroughly understand the concepts of higher-order learning and put them into practice. The time factor in learning processes may not get the significance it deserves leading to sub-optimal environments. The need to address learner motivation levels may get neglected without understanding the serious consequences. We may allow non-educational bodies to dictate terms on our curricular, sacrificing important pedagogical and human principles. The socio-economic conditions may unnecessarily impact learners much more than individual neurological and psychological characteristics. We present these limitations and suggest how an authentic learning experience can be achieved by overcoming them. 

The Need for a Deeper Perspective of Education to Make Way for an Authentic Learning Experience – November 2013

Journal of Education and Learning, Canada Centre of Science and Education, Canada, 2(4), 31-39

This paper discusses some of the limitations of our common practices as educational practitioners. We may not pay attention to the needs of a neurodiverse society. Instead, we may incorrectly assume the existence of idealistic individuals in our learning environments. There are some areas related to assessment that we can improve on, following some reflections. We may continue to be didactic in our delivery despite its inherent deficiencies. A balance between theoretical concepts and practical work may not be achieved. We may fail to thoroughly understand the concepts of higher-order learning and put them into practice appropriately. The time factor in learning processes may not get the significance it deserves leading to sub-optimal environments. The need to address learner motivation levels may get neglected without understanding the serious consequences. We may allow non-educational bodies to dictate terms on our curricular, sacrificing important pedagogical and human principles. The socio-economic conditions may unnecessarily impact learners much more than individual neurological and psychological characteristics. We present these limitations and suggest how an authentic learning experience can be achieved by overcoming them.

Authentic Learning Experience: Subtle But Useful Ways to Provide It In Practice – July 2013

Contemporary Issues in Education Research, Clute Institute for Academic Research, Colorado, USA, 6(3), 299–304

Authentic learning is conceptualised as an individualised experience learners undergo fulfilling their unique psychological as well as neurological needs. It provides a deep, more lasting experience and ideally assessed through generic attributes that are related to individual learners’ intrinsic characteristics, spanning throughout the life. Question-based lecture delivery, as author identified, is a promising methodology to engage the learner in an authentic learning experience. By forming the lecture as a series of questions, it essentially has a dialectic approach to teaching. Further, this methodology provides a good pace for concept delivery allowing learners to engage in constructing meaning. Additionally, it allows aligning teaching to assessment tasks more appropriately, improving the liability of assessment. Another practice that helps authentic learning, as highlighted in this paper, is only elaborating the most important concepts or material related to a study area, within the limited time available, and thereby, in the assessment as well. This contrasts with the notion that teacher has to mention every single fact in the study area in front of the learners, possibly directing learners to strategic approaches to learning. The time factor in relation to assessment components is also an important issue, as some learners may be disadvantaged if time is not allocated with careful thought. The significance of generalised, or higher-order, learning in an authentic learning framework is presented, as the knowledge gained through this way is likely to last longer in learners’ memory and at the same time, more useful to them in a generic way, or in day-to-day situations. Such practices also inherently motivate learners to engage in a deep learning process.

Authentic Education: Visualising Education in a Deeper Perspective – May 2013

World Journal of Education, SCIEDU Press, Canada, 3(3), 1–10

 Authentic education is presented in this paper from a multidisciplinary perspective; it is viewed and discussed mainly from the perspectives of psychology, pedagogy, neuroscience and machine learning. It addresses the individual psychological and neurological differences and guides individuals to reach higher levels of human developments. Especially, high emotional, intellectual and imaginational sensitivities are accepted as enriching a neurodiverse society, rather than constraining it. Further, the learners undergo a deep learningand critical thinking process in a manner that is natural to human brain functioning as a parallel processor, as opposed to a robotic machine that operates sequentially at high speed. As studies in neuroscience reveal, when learning takes place deeply, dendrites within the human brain are capable of growing into denser networks giving a physical meaning to our learning. Authentic education unifies different perspectives from multiple disciplinary areas into a useful measure that can be implemented in educational practice. In this way, we visualise education in a deeper sense that is not seen usually in a contemporary society and pave the way for a significant positive social change.

Benefiting From Authentic Education To A Sustainable Social Development – March 2013

Journal of International Education Research, The Clute Institute, Colorado, USA, 9(2), 171–176

Authentic education provides a unique learning experience to individual learners, specifically by addressing their psychological and neurological needs. The assessment of learners is done through generic attributes that have more validity and relates to intrinsic learner characteristics that could last throughout the life span of the learner. Authentic education looks at the general term education more broadly and deeply, and from multiple perspectives. As the individual learners are identified uniquely through authentic education, it embraces diversity within the human species more broadly and meaningfully. Learners are encouraged to pursue higher-order learning sending them through a complete learning cycle; this engages learners deeply to the task and provides a lasting experience, enabling individuals to reach their full potential. Authentic education aims at providing personal development for individuals broadly, not merely a career development, while still paving a better way to map individual preferences to more suitable career paths. Through authentic education, we get to value human resources much more than related economic aspects, making a significant difference to our current approaches and focus; it has the promise to effect a significant positive social change towards a sustainable development. The purpose of this study is to discuss conceptualising authentic education, multiple perspectives, better educational outcomes, learners embracing diversity, higher order learning, individual characteristics to related career paths, holistic personal development, social change valuing human resources, and consistent and predictable social development.

Improving Student Learning through Multidisciplinary Perspectives – December 2012

Journal of Teaching and Education, International Journal of Arts & Sciences, Rhode Island, USA, (5), 261–267

This paper looks at improving student learning mainly focusing on important practices related pedagogy, psychology and neuroscience. The author highlights the need that we, as educators, pay attention to learners’ individual psychological and neurological characteristics when we develop curricular and present them to learners. For example, we may identify whether the preferred learning style for learners is visual spatial or auditory sequential. Similarly, we may identify whether the learners exhibit overexcitabilities, such as emotional, imaginational and intellectual. Differentiation of these psychological and neurological characteristics enable us be inclusive in our practices; for example, we will be able to meet the needs of highly sensitive gifted learners in the mainstream education system, instead of requiring special programs. We cannot expect the presence of idealistic learners possessing extreme visual spatial and auditory sequential skills at the same time. From a pedagogical point of view, we need to stress on higher-order learning by having assessment targeting higher-order learning. One of the important aspects when targeting higher-order learning is the timing aspect; that is how much time we spend on elaborating the most important concepts in the subject area as well as the time allocated for assessment, considering that human brain is a parallel processor, not a sequential operator such as a machine, or robot. Another important aspect when targeting higher-order learning is the fact that we are more focused on generalised concepts that can permeate through many areas rather than more specific concepts restricted to a single area. Such emphasis will naturally motivate learners more to better engage in learning as the concepts learned will be useful to them in a more generic sense, or on a day to day life situations. We also highlight the need of having a balance between theory and practice as a way for improved student learning.

My Conference Publications that Subsequently Lead to Writing Books

Overcoming the Limitations of Current Practices in Education To Make the Way for an Authentic Learning Experience – June 2013

Proceedings of the Canada International Conference on Education (CICE-2013), Toronto, Canada, 328–334

In this paper, we discuss some of the limitations of our common practices as educational practitioners. We may not address the needs of a neurodiverse society. Instead, we may incorrectly assume idealistic individuals to exist. There are some areas related to assessment that we can improve on following some reflections. We may fail to thoroughly understand the concepts of higher-order learning and put them into practice. The time factor in learning processes may not get the significance it deserves leading to sub-optimal environments. The need to address learner motivation levels may get neglected without understanding the serious consequences. We may allow non-educational bodies to dictate terms on our curricular, sacrificing important pedagogical and human principles. The socio-economic conditions may unnecessarily impact learners much more than individual neurological and psychological characteristics. We present these limitations and suggest how an authentic learning experience can be achieved by overcoming them.

Subtle But Important Pedagogical Practices Yielding Authentic Learning Experience – January 2013

Proceedings of the Clute Institute International Academic Conference, Hawaii, USA, 346–351

Authentic learning is conceptualised as an individualised experience learners undergo fulfilling their unique psychological as well as neurological needs. It provides a deep, more lasting experience and ideally assessed through generic attributes that are related to individual learners’ intrinsic characteristics, spanning throughout the life. Question-based lecture delivery, as author identified, is a promising methodology to engage learners in an authentic learning experience. By forming the lecture as a series of questions, it essentially has a dialectic approach to teaching. Further, this methodology provides a good pace for concept delivery allowing learners to engage in constructing meaning. Additionally, it allows aligning teaching to assessment tasks more appropriately, improving the reliability of assessment. Another practice that helps authentic learning, as highlighted in this paper, is only elaborating the most important concepts or material related to a study area, within the limited time available, and thereby, in the assessment as well. This contrasts with the notion that teacher has to mention every single fact in the study area in front of the learners, possibly directing learners to strategic approaches to learning. The time factor in relation to assessment components is also an important issue, as some learners may be disadvantaged if time is not allocated with careful thought. The significance of generalised, or higher-order, learning in an authentic learning framework is presented, as the knowledge gained through this way is likely to last longer in learners’ memory and at the same time, more useful to them in a generic way, or in day-to-day situations. Such practices also inherently motivate learners to engage in a deep learning process. Use of practical work only in support of enhancing understanding of an abstract theory presented, but not otherwise, is also highlighted in promoting authentic learning experience.

Benefits of Authentic Education – January 2013

Proceedings of the Clute Institute International Academic Conference, Maui, Hawaii, USA, 199–203

Authentic education provides a unique learning experience to individual learners, specifically by addressing their psychological and neurological needs; assessment of learners are done through generic attributes that have more validity and relates to intrinsic learner characteristics, lasting throughout the life span. Authentic education looks at the general term education more broadly and deeply, and from multiple perspectives. As the individual learners are identified uniquely through authentic education, it embraces diversity within the human species more broadly and meaningfully. Learners are encouraged to pursue higher-order learning sending them through a complete learning cycle; this engages learners deeply to the task and provides a lasting experience, enabling individuals to reach their full potential. Authentic education aims at providing personal development for individuals broadly, not merely a career development, while still paving a better way to map individual preferences to more suitable career paths. Through authentic education, we get to value human resources much more than related economic aspects, making a significant difference to our current approaches and focus; it has the promise to effect a significant positive social change towards a sustainable development.

My News Paper Articles  at the Initial Stages of My Work on Education/Educational Neuroscience

Assessment Fostering Creativity and Open-Minded Thinking in Higher Education – May 2006

Daily News newspaper Sri Lanka

The aim of this article is to reflect on the purpose of assessment in higher education based on contemporary pedagogical principles and to discuss means of putting them into practice. As students, in general, focus on the assessment as means of aligning their learning process, it is important that the educators, construct them so that students are able to develop their potentials to the maximum, and face a rapidly changing socio-economic and technological environment with confidence.

Fostering Creative Human Beings 21st Century Challenge – February 2006

Daily News newspaper Sri Lanka

Teaching and assessment should be so structured to guide students to indulge themselves into a deep learning activity as opposed to that of a surface learning or strategic learning activity.
This principle should apply to every student, irrespective of his/her background, gender, culture, ability level etc., so that at the end of the course each student is a better practitioner of deep learning, minimising at the same time any possible involvement in surface learning and the like.
It is important to stress on the fact that the comparison as a better practitioner of deep learning, minimising at the same time any possible involvement in surface learning as a better practitioner of deep learning is made with respect to the state where he/she started the course, rather than with another student.