What Can the Study of Genetics Offer to Educators?

Authors

  • Michael S. C. Thomas,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Educational Neuroscience, Birkbeck, University of London
    • Address correspondence to Michael S. C. Thomas, Developmental Neurocognition Lab, Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HX, UK; e-mail: m.thomas@bbk.ac.uk

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  • Yulia Kovas,

    1. Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths University of London
    2. Laboratory for Cognitive Investigations and Behavioral Genetics, Tomsk State University
    3. King's College London, MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience
    4. Psychological Institute, Russian Academy of Education
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  • Emma L. Meaburn,

    1. Centre for Educational Neuroscience, Birkbeck, University of London
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  • Andrew Tolmie

    1. Centre for Educational Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Education, University College London
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ABSTRACT

This article explores the potential contribution of modern genetic methods and findings to education. It is familiar to hear that the “gene” for this or that behavior has been discovered, or that certain skills are “highly heritable.” Can this help educators? To explore this question, we describe the methods used to relate genetic variation to individual differences in high-level behaviors such as academic skills and educational achievement. These methods include twin studies and genome-wide association studies. We address the key question of what genetic data imply about the ability of educators to optimize educational outcomes for children across the range of abilities.

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