The Brain/Education Barrier

Science  07 Sep 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5843, pp. 1293
DOI: 10.1126/science.1148983

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In an era of translational science, researchers often find themselves in the mixed company of policy-makers, legislators, and educators looking for "evidence-based" practice. That's how it was earlier this year in March, when a distinguished international group of neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists convened at the University of Chile in Santiago for the conference titled Early Education and Human Brain Development, which many Chilean ministers, educators, and scientists attended to learn how brain science might transform education. On day one, however, it became clear that myths about brain-based pedagogy dominated participants' thinking. The Chilean educators were looking to brain science for insights about which type of preschool would be the most effective, whether children are safe in child care, and how best to teach reading. The brain research presented at the conference that day was mute on these issues. However, cognitive and behavioral science could help.