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Journal Article

Embodied learning: Why at school the mind needs the body


Macedonia,  Manuela
Department of Information Engineering, Johannes Kepler University, Austria;
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Linz Center of Mechatronics GmbH, Austria;

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Macedonia, M. (2019). Embodied learning: Why at school the mind needs the body. Frontiers in Psychology, 10: 2098. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02098.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-EBF3-1
Despite all methodological efforts made in the last three decades, Western instruction grounds on traditional principles. Most educational programs follow theories that are mentalistic, i.e., they separate the mind from the body. At school, learners sit, watch, listen, and write. The aim of this paper is to present embodied learning as an alternative to mentalistic education. Similarly, this paper wants to describe embodied learning from a neuroscientific perspective. After a brief historical overview, I will review studies highlighting the behavioral effectiveness of embodied instruction in second language learning, mathematics and spatial thinking. On this base, I will discuss some of the brain mechanisms driving embodied learning and describe its advantages, clearly pleading in favor of instructional practice that reunites body and mind.