Connecting Mind, Brain and Education to improve Learning and Teaching

Led by Kurt W. Fischer

In the current age of biology, society is looking to brain science, genetics, and cognitive science to inform and improve education. There is much to be learned from this research about learning and teaching, but there are also many myths and scams that use brain science illegitimately. The movement called Mind, Brain, and Education connects practice reciprocally with research, helping people to discriminate brain scams from legitimate knowledge. We human beings created schools and universities as the main institutions for promoting learning beyond the family, and they have proved surprisingly effective for educating some students. But the 21st century demands effective education of everyone. Research on brain and cognitive functioning as well as genetics illuminates how learning occurs and establishes important principles for education in the classroom, including analysis of commonalities and differences in learning pathways across students. Two powerful findings are (a) the remarkable diversity and plasticity of learning and (b) a general ruler (scale) that describes the common processes of learning in these diverse learning pathways and simultaneously connects them to teaching and curriculum, all within a single framework. Students learn by building knowledge along specific, diverse skill pathways, mastering the special tools of literacy, mathematics, science, the arts, and other human inventions. The great innovation required in 21st century education is understanding the diversity of learning pathways so that schools and universities can help all children learn to be effective human beings in a rapidly changing world.