This is a new era in the fields of education, neuroscience, and cognitive science – a time to bring together mind, brain, and education. The advent of powerful new in vivo brain imaging technologies, the power of the burgeoning discoveries in genetics, and the general excitement in society about biology make possible a new alliance relating biology, cognition, and education (Educational Leadership, 1998). Hidden brain and genetic processes are becoming increasingly visible (Gage, 2003; Lyon & Rumsey, 1996; Thatcher, Lyon, Rumsey, & Krasnegor, 1996), and in a few tantalizing cases, researchers and educators can even begin to observe the functional neuropsychological effects of educational interventions. It is an exciting time! This book is designed to promote the dialogue that is essential to creating the best integration of biology, cognitive science, and education.
The burgeoning new knowledge and the focus of society on biology lead to expectations that sometimes upset the balance between scientific knowledge and meaningful use in practice, raising numerous new ethical and educational issues (Battro, 2000; Bruer, 1997, 1999; Scientific American, 2003). The best research and the best educational practice require a two-way interaction between the scientific research and the knowledge of educators working to help children learn. Research in neuroscience and genetics, for instance, gains new significance and controversy as educators and clinicians work to translate it into practice, dealing with the strengths and weaknesses of real children learning in schools. This translation to practice should, in turn, filter back down to shape new scientific questions.