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Essential Biology

The grain of the brain There is not much that today’s children don’t know about human biology, but there is an awful lot about the neuro-biology of human learning that politicians don’t seem to understand… simply to teach a child something is no guarantee that it will be learnt. To appreciate the difficulties experienced in […]

Because we are Thinking Beings

August 6, 2009

Preserving creativity Humans have evolved over millions of years to become the planet’s preeminent learning species.  It is our brains that give us our superiority, not our muscles.  We do best those things which we have worked out for ourselves.  We are suspicious of those who tell us what to do for fear that this […]


It’s high summer.The days are long, often warm and frequently hot.Thoughts turn to holidays, the chance to relax and meander through a part of the country you don’t know well.You look forward to simply going where the mood takes you. Which, of course, is what our ancestors back in the distant centuries did all the […]

Adolescence; a critical Evolutionary Adaptation

This Paper has been written in response to an increasing concern that formal education, especially at the secondary level, is failing to meet the needs and expectations of young people for an appropriate induction into adult life and responsibilities.

The Challenge of Synthesis; Making sense of Research Across the Biological and Social Sciences

Wesley College Institute (Melbourne) Advisory Committee 27th May 2006   Presentation by John Abbott, President The 21st Century Learning Initiative (U.K. and International) Currently in a Partnership with Wesley College to explore new thinking and directions for schooling during the Adolescent years   The Challenge of Synthesis; Making sense of Research Across the biological and […]

Can the Learning Species fit into schools?

If we humans are the planet’s pre-eminent learning species surely none but the most obdurate of young people should readily accept the benign conditions of the classroom?

Learning to Go with the Grain of the Brain

If young people are to be equipped effectively to meet the challenges of the 21st century it is surely prudent to seek out the very best understandings from current scientific research into the nature of how humans learn before considering further reform of the current system.

This article by John Abbott and Terence Ryan appeared in the Spring, 1999 issue of Education Canada.

Policy Paper

The Initiative’s Policy Paper from November 1998 is the most detailed description of our work and is necessary reading for anyone interested the ideas and research accumulated by the Initiative. The document is available as a PDF file.

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