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On the potential of a brain based instruction model to enhance reasoning abilities in secondary education: a systematic review

Roel J. Ariës, Henriette Maassen van den Brink & Wim Groot


Secondary school pupils underachieve in tests in which reasoning abilities are required. Brain-based training of working memory improves reasoning abilities. In this systematic review, we discuss why and which brain-based learning strategies enhance reasoning skills and which criteria such a strategy should comprise to develop reasoning skills. Furthermore a brain-based learning strategy is developed that can serve as a tool for teachers to develop a training to enhance the reasoning skills of their pupils. The strategy consists of two components. The cognitive executive function (EF) component concerns the working memory, which can enhance reasoning skills and can be complemented by specific training of the EF’s ‘updating’ and ‘sorting’ when required. The meta-cognitive EF component concerns the storing of acquired knowledge of reasoning skills in long term memory, which in turn causes internalization of these skills.

Key words - reasoning abilities, secondary education, brain based learning

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