Education Policy, Research and Neuroscience: The Final Solution?

Derek Sankey
University of Sydney
Taken as a whole, the findings of educational research are often inconclusive; far too many competing ideas and thus difficult for policy makers to decide what to believe, unless it says what they really want to hear. An alternative is to seek help from the much more ‘scientifically reliable’ findings of neuroscience. Perhaps this will provide a means of uniting education policy and research. For example, it should be possible to scan the brains of children to see whether they are likely to become vicious criminals and so isolate them, before they commit crimes. Will this be the policy makers’ final solution to the problem of children’s anti-social behaviour? Philosophers of education and teacher educators need to provide informed responses to the evidence of neuroscience and its implications, making sure they are on-target. This paper presents some relevant neuroscientific evidence regarding empathy, truth and free-will, and engages in some preliminary target practice.
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