Nature, nurture and agency

Debate about the relative importance of ‘nature’ (biological factors) and nurture (environmental factors) on children’s capacity to learn continues.

The health and physical development of children are closely linked to their performance in classrooms. Two texts which offer an overview of policies and practices aimed at promoting wellbeing and of the impact of a range of factors on children's health and wellbeing are:

Mayall gives an interesting account of children’s thoughts about their own health and health care at home and at school.

Research and debate on the implications for education of the neurobiology of the brain is growing, though caution is appropriate in such a new field of research. For expert introductions, see:

Both McNeil and Claxton offer overviews, at different points in time, of developments in this area.

Sylwester investigates the significance of brain function and how the brain works and learns, and both Geake and Sousa offers insights into the implications of neuroscience research for classroom practice.

Debate about the notion of intelligence and ability continues with recognition of the dangers of stereotyping and inappropriate generalisation. It is also widely acknowledged that there are many kinds of `abilities’ and that these can be influenced and enhanced by quality learning experiences. On `intelligence’, Richardson provides a useful introduction:

For dramatically contrasting views of the nature, origins and study of intelligence see: