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:
- Collins, J. and Foley, P. (Eds) (2008) Promoting Children's Wellbeing: Policy and Practice, Bristol: Policy Press.
- Underdown, A. (2006) Young Children's Health and Well-Being, Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Mayall gives an interesting account of children’s thoughts about their own health and health care at home and at school.
- Mayall, B. (1996) Children's Health in Primary Schools, London: Falmer.
- Mayall, B. (1996) Children, Health and the Social Order, Buckingham: Open University Press.
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:
- Goswami, U. (2008) Cognitive Development. The Learning Brain. Hove: Psychology Press.
- Howard-Jones, P. A. (2010) Introducing Neuroeducational Research: Neuroscience, Education and the Brain From Contexts to Practice. Abingdon: Routledge.
Both McNeil and Claxton offer overviews, at different points in time, of developments in this area.
- McNeil, F. (2009) Learning with the Brain in Mind, London: SAGE.
- Claxton, G. (1997) Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind, London: Fourth Estate.
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.
- Sylwester, R. (2005) How to Explain a Brain, London: Paul Chapman.
- Geake, J.G. (2009) The Brain at School: Educational Neuroscience in the Classroom, Maidenhead: Open University Press.
- Sousa, D. A. (2006) How the Brain Learns. 3rd edition, London: Paul Chapman.
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:
- Richardson, K. (1991) Understanding Intelligence, Buckingham: Open University Press.
For dramatically contrasting views of the nature, origins and study of intelligence see:
- Hart, S., Dixon, A., Drummond, MJ. And McIntyre, D. (2004) Learning Without Limits. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
- Stobart, G. (2014) The Expert Learner. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
- Gardner, H. (2006) The Development and Education of the Mind: The Selected Works Of Howard Gardner, London: Routledge.
- Goleman, D. (1996) Emotional Intelligence: Why it can Matter More than IQ, London: Bloomsbury.
- Lucas, B. & Claxton, G. (2010) New Kinds of Smart. How the Science of Learnable Intelligence is Changing Education. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
- Claxton, G. (1999) Wise Up: The Challenge of Lifelong Learning, London: Bloomsbury.
- Shayer, M. and Adey, P. (Eds) Learning Intelligence: Cognitive Acceleration Across The Curriculum From 5 To 15 Years, Maidenhead: Open University Press.