In a 2002 report, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), proposed the term "neuromyths". The term is meant to suggest that findings in neuroscience can be easily misunderstood, which, in turn, leads to inaccurate information, which is then propagated. Following are three neuromyths that we hear frequently in independent schools, some of which we ourselves propagate.
(1)There are hemispheric differences between the "left brain" and the "right brain."
(2) The brain has critical periods when certain skill sets should be learned, and that this education must occur at precise moments of development, or all is lost.
(3) The most effective educational interventions have to occur simultaneously alongside periods of synaptogenesis (formation of synapses, or interconnections, in brain cells).
Here are some things to consider when dealing with the aforementioned neuromyths. The numbers below correspond to the numbers above.
(1) The brain has complex, cross-hemisphere connections, and both hemispheres work in concert on the cognitive tasks that neuroimaging has explored to-date. There is, to be sure, some "hemispheric specialization" regarding where certain skills are housed, but even these hemispheric specializations are challenged by subsets of people (those who are blind, as well as non-native English learners, for example).
(2) The term "critical period" is a misnomer, as it suggests that, if this time period is missed, the brain can never acquire that skill to the same extent. A replacement term of "sensitive period" has been proposed, and makes more sense. Foreign language acquisition (my own field) is where one most often hears this argument, and, while there is probably a higher degree of acquisition ability at a younger age, it does not mean that older students cannot learn a language competently without having begun at an earlier age.
(3) Any new, specific, environmental stimulation will cause the brain to form new connections, new synapses. It is not tied to age, nor is "synaptic density" any predictor of a greater capacity to learn. The evidence is simply not there.
Division-level meetings and/or full-faculty meetings would provide useful fora in which to discuss these neuromyths. I suspect that such discussions would lead to re-evaluations of some assumptions that have informed the development of our curricula these past ten years or so.
For further reading, I recommend the excellent article, "Neuroscience and Education" by Usha Goswami, professor of education at Cambridge University, whose work is readily available in multiple scholarly journals.