New Centre examines how children learn

By: Gerry Rucchin
May 15, 2019

Western University has announced a new Centre for the Faculty of Education.

The Centre for the Science of Learning will bring together researchers from cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience and education. They will look at the psychological and biological mechanisms that help children learn and how they can be incorporated into the education system.

The Centre will be led by Professor Daniel Ansari, a cross-appointed faculty member with the Department of Psychology.

“The work of researchers in the Centre will impact what teachers do in their classrooms, educational policy as well as decisions around assessment and evaluation,” said Ansari. “We’re looking at developing an evidence-informed approach to education.”

While the Centre has been officially announced, it’s still in the early stages of development. The immediate priority for Ansari is to put his team together. However, he has identified five goals for the Centre.

He wants his interdisciplinary group of researchers to collaborate and for their research to be integrated into the Teacher Education program at Western.

What’s more, he also wants the Centre to interact with school boards. In addition, Ansari stressed it’s important for the Centre to share what they learn with educators and policymakers.

“We won’t be taking a top-down approach where researchers swoop in and tell educators what to do. Rather, we want to analyze what their needs are and then see how we can conduct research to address some of their needs,” said Ansari.

Finally, developing international partnerships will also be important for the Centre. Ansari said these relationships provide opportunities for Western researchers to tap into their colleagues’ expertise with the goal of advancing educational research.

The Centre for the Science of Learning will officially launch on Oct. 4.