Scott Newson

Thesis title: My provisional thesis title is ‘How neuroscientific insights on curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving can help guide and enrich existing approaches to enquiry-based learning.’

Start year: 2022

Research topic

Enquiry-based learning is becoming more prevalent in educational institutions, particularly in the sciences and
humanities, and was first pioneered as a concept in the 1960s in the American education system. However, given the great strides in cognitive neuroscience that have been made since the advent of fMRI in the early 1990s, I feel that existing models of enquiry-based learning (such as those of John Dewey and Joseph Schwab) do not fully capitalise on the breadth of understanding that we now have about how the brain generates ideas, solves problems, and makes decisions - all cognitive processes that underpin how the brain enquires best. Therefore, I believe that current models of enquiry-based learning can be revised and updated by applying an empirical understanding of neuroscience, together with effective application of cognitive and psychological concepts - for example delivered through professional development programmes. This would greatly enrich the successful delivery and effectiveness of enquiry-based learning in the classroom, especially in the context of working through and generating actions and solutions in response to complex global issues.


Enquiry-based learning, (Neuro)education, Neuroscience, Pedagogies

General research interests

Neuroeducation, Pedagogical approaches, Social and Political Movements

Academic school / department

School of Education, Humanities and Languages