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Education Opinion

The Problem with “Brain-Based” Education

By Sara Mead — December 19, 2013 1 min read

Great piece by Anya Kamenetz on all the problems with the push to implement “brain-based” approaches in education. While it’s indisputable that modern science is dramatically enhancing our understanding of how the brain works and how it develops, and much of what we’ve learned is incredibly exciting, it’s also true that trying to apply these findings to educational practice or policy is much more complicated than often assumed--and neuroscience findings often don’t translated into clear implications for policy or practice. The misuse of brain science is one of the things that frustrates me most about the ongoing “boy crisis” debate about gender in education, and I’m also uncomfortable with some of the brain-based arguments I hear early childhood advocates making, too, although I clearly understand the temptation.

Folks who are interested in smart, evidence-based information and analysis about education and the brain should really follow indispensible University of Virginia cognitive scientist Dan Willingham.

The opinions expressed in Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.