Human’s ability to learn through schooling and diverse kinds of cultural instruction is quite unique. Education plays a crucial role in cultural transformations: It permits members of a society, the young specifically, to efficiently obtain an ever-evolving body of knowledge and abilities that took thousands of years to conceive. It is time for education, biology, and cognitive science to come together to create a new science and practice of learning and development. The extraordinary new tools of biology and cognitive science create enormous possibilities for this developing field. The discovery of powerful brain-imaging tools; the amazing, expanding discoveries that are altering genetics; and the growing power of means for measuring cognition, emotion, and learning make a promising alliance that can brighten human learning and development.
What allows human beings to acquire cultural tools like writing and mathematics and to build and use knowledge in science and the arts that go far outside their personal experience? What are the principles for designing schools and other educational settings to enhance effective learning and healthy development?
Providing key questions about mind, brain, and education entails reciprocal interaction between scientific research and practical knowledge of educators and caregivers. There must be an active interaction between scientific research and practical knowledge, with practice shaping scientific questions as much as research shapes practice. For example, research in neuroscience and genetics receive different meaning and value as educators and caregivers transform it into practice, linking it to the ways that children act and learn in schools and communities.