3 flaws of Education

Education, as we traditionally know it, has 3 flaws:

The first flaw is that learning is considered a branch of psychology while it should be part of neurosciences. There are two reasons for this standpoint:

  1. learning is a function related to the creation and strengthening of links between neurons (Arbib, 2003 and Moldakarimov & Sejnowksi, 2009). The scientific laws that governs these dynamics should determine, define and frame our knowledge about learning.
  2. The second reason is that psychology focuses on fixing human weaknesses (Snyder, Lopez & Pedrotti, 2011), this is reflected in education where the majority of teachers are under the influence that their role is to “fix” the student habits and attitutdes. While education should focus on our strengths and should not bother with our weaknesses (Robinson & Aronica, 2009).

So learning should be investigated and researched by cognitive neuroscientists and not psychologists alone (Hirsh-Pasek & Bruer, 2007). Cognitive neuroscience should have more influence on learning theories that it does today.

The second flaw is that education assumes that peoples’ “learning character” (my term) can be shaped during adulthood. While neuroscientists say that our learning character is shaped by the age of 3 and it is almost impossible to change it after that age (Bruer, 2002). We can enhance it and improve it, but we cannot change it nor create it. This is a flaw in education because most teachers believe that students’ under performance is caused by laziness consequently tag students based on their weakness for the rest of their life.

The third fault is that educational assessment measures the wrong learning parameters. It measures retained information, while it should measure knowledge and learning parameters.

Recognizing the above will convert education from Theory-X to Theory-Y (adopting McGregor managers model, see the following post).


Arbib, M. (Ed.). (2003). The handbook of brain theory and neural networks. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Bruer, T. (2002). Myth of the first three years: A new understanding of early brain development and lifelong learning. New York: Free Press.
Earl, L. (2003). Assessment as learning: using classroom assessment to maximize learning. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.
Gardner, H. (1999). Intelligence reframed: Multiple intelligences for the 21st century. New York: Basic Books
Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Bruer, J. (2007). The brain/education barrier. Science (New York, N.Y.), 317(5843), 1293.
Moldakarimov, S. & Sejnowksi, T. (2009). Neural Computation of Learning. Chapter 15 in Byrne, John (ed.). Concise Learning and memory: The editor’s selection. (2009). Accessible partially from: http://www.elsevierdirect.com/product.jsp?lid=0&iid=5&sid=0&isbn=9780123746276
Robinson, K & Aronica, L. (2009). The element : how finding your passion changes everything.  New York: Penguin Group USA.Bruer, T. (2002). Myth of the first three years: A new understanding of early brain development and lifelong learning. New York: Free Press.
Snyder, C., Lopez S. & Pedrotti, J. (2011). Positive psychology: the scientific and practical explorations of human strengths. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE