Brains and Schools: A Mismatch
How do you improve learning if you never really talk about how learning happens?
Since the fall of 1957, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, people have talked about school reform, proposing pretty much the same solutions for more than half a century: more math and science, higher standards, more money, better teachers, more accountability, longer school days and years. Lots of educators have done lots of work; lots of money has been funneled into the effort; and the tide of mediocrity continues to rise. That could finally change—if we invite a new voice into the conversation.
Clearly, children need good teachers. Teachers need good training. Standards and accountability matter. But it would help the larger reform conversation if everyone spent more time looking at research into learning and the brain and less time rehashing the same tired issues: falling test scores, not enough science and math, clichés about 21st-century skills, left- and right-brain myths, the national obsession with being No. 1. The central issue is the mismatch between the way brains learn and the misconceptions about learning on which schools are built. The issue is the incompatibility...
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