A New Frontier in Education Science: The Arrowsmith Young Collaborative for Neuroscience and Education

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L to R Dr. Lara Boyd, Barbara Arrowsmith Young, Howard Eaton, Dr. Kim Schonert-Reichl

Our whole society benefits when we give children the best start in life—when their success is determined by their potential and not the challenges that stand in their way. UBC envisions a future where tailored, evidence-based education is available to all children, regardless of their background or ability.

The UBC Faculty of Medicine is seeking your support to pioneer a discipline that will transform children’s education. This initiative will combine neuroscience and early learning research into one novel discipline: educational neuroscience. Led by UBC professors Lara Boyd and Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, the Arrowsmith Young Collaborative for Neuroscience and Education will advance research, create training opportunities and translate knowledge to help us understand how education impacts human development—and ultimately advance the science and practice of education for the benefit of children.

Barbara Arrowsmith Young was light years ahead her time when she founded Ontario’s Arrowsmith Schools in 1980. Based on the concept of neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to be strengthened over time with targeted training—this programming transformed the learning and lives of countless students with learning disabilities. There is great potential to imagine education through the lens of neuroplasticity, and expand educational practices through targeted, evidence-based interventions. Drs. Boyd and Schonert-Reichl want to investigate this understudied, yet promising field to improve educational outcomes for all students.

To complement its research activities, the collaborative will create training opportunities that promote cross-fertilization between the fields of neuroscience and education and foster a new generation of truly interdisciplinary scientists with the skills to advance this emerging field.

Knowledge translation will be embedded in all of the collaborative’s research activities to ensure research findings will be shared with parents, teachers and researchers. UBC researchers are partnering with the Vancouver School Board to enhance research through a “living lab”; each year, the collaborative will invite two teachers through a part-time secondment to work as scholars-in-residence; and international experts will deliver lectures and engage with faculty, staff and students associated with the collaborative.

UBC is uniquely positioned to build a world-class education and neuroscience initiative that translates new knowledge into tangible benefits for kids, families, and schools. Donor support will be instrumental to realizing this vision. Please give your support, and help enable children to develop the cognitive, social, and emotional skills to succeed in a complex world.