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A neurocognitive view on what makes educators 'effective' in nurturing social and personal skills

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    Rights statement: © Hildmann, J., & Nicol, R. (2014). A neurocognitive view on what makes educators 'effective' in nurturing social and personal skills. Educational Alternatives, 12, 328-340. - This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. This permission does not cover any third party copyrighted material which may appear in the work requested.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-340
Number of pages23
JournalEducational Alternatives
Early online date4 Sep 2014
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sep 2014


In democratic societies, education should follow a humanistic paradigm and pro-actively support the growth of social and personal skills (SPS) in learners of all ages. In this article, we present a literature review on the factors demonstrated in various educational fields as 'effective' in generating learning success – mostly conceptualized as improved academic achievement – and social and personal growth. Factors that appear across all fields are highlighted. Next, neuro-cognitive literature on how we learn with our brain and our body is evaluated and the findings merged with those of the previous subchapters. Key features to 'successful' educational endeavours are presented, namely Emotions, Action, Cooperation, Reflection, Motivation and Practice. 'Neurologically smart' teaching then means to integrate these features as smooth and appropriate as possible into the individual educational context. There is little research that focuses on educational effectiveness in regard to social and personal growth compared to (purely) academic achievement. Also, although the educator1is widely agreed upon to be one of the most crucial factors of impact on the learning outcomes, research addresses only managerial aspects of the educational process, and only marginally touches on intra-personal aspects such as emotional intelligence or leadership style in relation to the growth of SPS in learners. Further research in this area is recommended.

    Research areas

  • neuro-cognitive, effective teaching, educator, social skills, personal skills, development

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