The author Salman Rushdie recently caused controversy by mentioning the lack of “rote learning” in schools. He spoke about the benefits of learning poetry by heart, something that has been outdated for many decades now. But actually, Rushdie may have just opened the life-long debate one the effectiveness of different learning strategies in modern education. It is already an accepted fact that each pupil prefers a different learning style and technique. Of course, this makes it only harder for teachers to prepare for classes geared towards the individual’s preferred style of learning. The additional problem is that social learning can appear to be the exact opposite of another style, such as those who prefer a more solitary style of education. Research shows that when it comes to learning strategy preferences, they are pretty hard wired in each individual and genes play a large part in the process.
Genes can also shape our relationships with other people; parents, teachers, peers included. “Educational genomics” is a relatively new field, which has been expanding rapidly in the recent years because of advances in technology. It involves using detailed information about the human genome or DNA variants to identify their contribution to particular traits that are related to education. It is thought that one day, educational genomics could enable educational organizations to create tailor-made curriculum programs based on a pupil’s DNA profile. A number of recent large-scale genetic studies on education-related traits focusing on memory, reaction time, learning ability and academic achievement already have identified genetic variants that contribute to these traits. This information could then be used to find out what DNA variants contribute to reading and mathematical ability, and then used to predict whether or not a pupil is likely to be gifted in a particular field such as music or even sports.
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With this new field of educational genomics, every child in the future could be given the opportunity to achieve their maximum potential. By considering DNA differences among people in the future, educational genomics could provide the basis for a more personalized approach to education. This would most likely be a much more effective way of educating pupils because educational genomics could enable schools to accommodate a variety of different learning styles suited to the individual needs of the learner, whether the learning style is modern or old school and outdated. In time educational genomics could help society to take a decisive step towards the creation of an education system that plays on the advantages of genetic background. This could be a far better educational system and method compared to the present and current system that penalizes those individuals who do not fit into the educational mold by failing them.