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The Brain-Mind Cycle of Reflection

by Ashgar Iran-Nejad & Madeleine Gregg - 2001

Educational researchers and practitioners agree that schooling must push beyond memorization into the realm of critical reflection. A model that facilitates instruction beyond the didactic approach, the input-elaboration-output model of constructive memory, has been used by many to describe the process of critical reflection. However, the current hegemony of this model has dampened the exploration, slowed the development, and limited the adoption (or even the consideration) of other perspectives. This paper discusses a theory of thinking, learning, and schooling based on recent developments in biofunctional cognition. At the heart of the theory is the notion that the brain-awareness-mind cycle, not the input-elaboration-output sequence, directly represents the natural course of human reflection. It is argued that what makes this brain-mind cycle of reflection possible is intuitive self-awareness. According to this theory, learning is best viewed not as the internalization of external knowledge but as wholetheme reorganization of the learner's own intuitive knowledge base. The application of the theory is illustrated with data from an experimental teacher education program.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 103 Number 5, 2001, p. 868-895
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10826, Date Accessed: 6/22/2021 3:43:00 AM

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About the Author
  • Ashgar Iran-Nejad
    University of Alabama
    E-mail Author
    ASGHAR IRAN-NEJAD is professor of educational psychology, University of Alabama. He is interested in biofunctional cognition, learning, and wholetheme education. He is a founding member of the Multiple Abilities Program in elementary teacher education, the guest editor of special issues of Educational Psychologist, Journal of Mind and Behavior, and Review of Educational Research, and coeditor, with P. David Pearson, of AERA’s Review of Educational Research.
  • Madeleine Gregg
    University of Alabama
    SR. MADELEIN GREGG is an associate professor of teacher education, University of Alabama. She is a founding member of the Multiple Abilities Program, an innovative undergraduate elementary teacher education program. Her research interests include the cognitive processing of geographical information with particular reference to memory and reasoning processes.
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