BrainCanDo conference

BrainCanDo Conference 2018

Pathways from neuroscience to the classroom


On Thursday 15 March 2018, BrainCanDo will host its third annual conference at Queen Anne’s School, Caversham.

Join us for a one-day CPD accredited conference where you will hear from leading figures in the field as they share their expertise on the value of neuroscience to education and be given the opportunity to develop your teaching and learning toolkit.

The day will be structured with three 40 minute talks from leading industry figures and three plenary sessions; two panel discussions and the final to be a BrainCanDo led session discussing what research has found to date over the 5 year programme.

  • Session 1: How is neuroscience relevant to the classroom? A talk by Professor Michael Thomas – Director of the Centre for Educational Neuroscience, London.
  • Plenary 1: Addressing current neuromyths in education. Panel discussion
  • Session 2: How emotional contagion impacts teenage peer groups in the classroom. Dr Dean Burnett – Neuroscientist and lecturer
  • Plenary 2: Emotional contagion. Panel discussion
  • Session 3: Working memory and classroom learning. Dr Joni Holmes – MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge
  • Plenary 3: BrainCanDo led session. Research updates from university collaborators – Daniel (Goldsmith’s Music), Kou (Reading Emotional Contagion), and Dan (Self-affirmation); future research with the Children’s Society

Dyslexia Symposium with Professor John Stein

We invite you to attend our BrainCanDo Dyslexia symposium.

Date: Thursday 12th October
Time: 19.30 – 21.00
Cost: FREE
Where: Queen Anne’s School, RG4 6DX

We are delighted to announce that this symposium will be led by John Stein with his talk ‘Wobbles, Warbles and Fish – the neural basis of Dyslexia’.

John is emeritus Professor of Neuroscience, Dept. Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics and Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. In theory ‘retired’ John still teaches neuroscience to medical and psychology students and his research still focuses on the role of vision and nutrition in the control of movement and behaviour in neurological patients, dyslexics and young offenders.


Have you ever tried to eat your breakfast blindfolded?  Or tried to tickle yourself?  Or to ride a bicycle backwards?  If you have tried, the chances are that you weren’t very successful.

Through repetition processes, activities like riding a bicycle, become automatic, and brain pathways fire quickly and without us having to put too much effort into the thinking process. Once you know how to ride a bike, you don’t have to think about it too hard. Unless the bike is wired up to ride backwards, that is! Then our brains are tricked into thinking they can work in the usual way for the desired outcome, deceived by the changes in the equipment we’re dealing with.

Understanding what is happening in the brain can help us to be more efficient at learning, more effective at functioning and as a result, to become happier people!

Several years ago when BrainCanDo was started we began to understand that learning about the brain and mindset is critical to improving learning and to making things happen. We wanted to know how do people eat breakfast, how do we feel tickles, how do we ride bicycles? Which bits of brain are involved? What do they do when we get it right? And what happens when we get it wrong? Can we maximize our thinking patterns to think along more positive and constructive lines? By learning about how we get these processes wrong, we can be active about making them right.

We constructed a ‘toolkit’ to help us to understand the things we do through learning, in everyday life. With the help of some neuroscientists, we were able to describe how memory works, how stress can be used to aid performance, and how improved understanding of our brains can help us to improve performance and to lead happier and more successful lives. We talked to our new scientist friends about learning and development. In turn, they invited us to take part in a number of psychological experiments which helped them to better understand these processes.

To find out more about BrainCanDo and current and past research projects please visit