In the 21st century, education must take into account the advances made in neuroscience regarding how the developing brain works. At the Best Schools in Spain, we stay up-to-date on all studies and developments in neuroscience, as it represents a pillar that allows us to apply methodologies in our classrooms that improve learning processes, the management of emotions and the behaviour of our students.

The Best Schools in Spain apply the contributions of neuroscience in their educational programmes and continually train their staff in this field. Guidance departments have neuropsychology experts that work with teachers, students and their families to offer the support they need to meet their educational needs.

Neuropsychology and emotions in learning

Having a better understanding of the role that attention, perception, memory and motivation play in the learning process is a fundamental aspect that allows us to educate students while respecting their stage of development. Schools need to be aware of how tiredness, diet, exercise and emotions affect the children and young people that they teach in order to ensure that learning times, spaces and activities are optimally designed.

The brain is constructed and transformed by experiences, which makes enriching environments highly important, taking into account the neuropsychological foundations at each stage of development. We know that the brain works better when there is a certain level of excitement. Motivating the students, making them want to learn, is the most important part of our job at the Best Schools in Spain.

Furthermore, if children work in a group and cooperate with others, they will connect their social brains. We will catch students’ attention if we bring games and humour into our lessons, if they feel capable and competent, if they feel important or if they can learn to manage emotions like frustration. Their memory will also benefit, as we know that we remember experiences with an emotional component better.

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A happy brain learns better

Neuropsychology gives us the keys to be able to understand the importance of executive functions — complex mental activities that we must use to achieve a goal — in learning. These involve attention processes, work memory, planning (which means organising), decision-making, process evaluation, reasoning and cognitive flexibility, the ability to concentrate on the necessary stimuli and ignore irrelevant distractions or time management.

These foundations also help us to identify the causes behind learning difficulties and are used to design support programmes to deal with them. They also stimulate students’ neurodevelopment and can prevent any potential difficulties before they arise.

In early years education, programmes to develop sensory and motor stimulation are carried out, as well as to encourage emotional development. Furthermore, we develop programmes to help students acquire the basic neuropsychological skills they need for reading and writing, mathematics, speech and foreign languages, as well visual, aural, neuromotor, lateral and metalinguistic capabilities. Lastly, we have projects to stimulate various sensory, manipulative and creative skills.

In primary education, it is important for students to develop good attention, concentration, self-motivation, organization, reasoning and memory skills. In this sense, our teachers must progressively help students to evaluate their own learning, strengthening the use of metacognition in order to make them aware of what they do and do not know, of how they have learned it and how to apply it in other contexts, including in their daily lives.

As a result, the Best Schools in Spain and our professionals aim to make each individual student feel safe, confident, recognised, supported and respected. Neuropsychology makes a fundamental contribution to children’s education, which we have applied in our classrooms: a happy brain learns better.