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Deans for Impact Releases “Science for Learning”


Joyce-grantee Deans for Impact, a new non-profit representing leaders in educator preparation who are committed to transforming the field, released its first major publication Thursday entitled “The Science of Learning.”

The document summarizes the existing research on the cognitive science of how children learn, and then connects it to the practical implications for teaching and learning.  It explores questions such as, “how do students understand new ideas?” and “what motivates them to learn?”

Deans for Impact believes that every aspiring teacher should grapple with – and be able to answer – these questions as part of their teacher-training program, and that all educators should be able to connect these principles to classroom practice. The document notes that the entire endeavor should be guided by the growing body of research on basic cognitive principles.

“The Science of Learning” was developed by the member deans of Deans for Impact in close collaboration with Dan Willingham, a cognitive scientist at the University of Virginia, and Paul Bruno, a former middle school science teacher. More than 50 organizations and individuals have signed on in support of this important work. You can download the report here.

Founded in 2015, Deans for Impact is a national nonprofit organization representing leaders in educator preparation who are committed to transforming educator preparation and elevating the teaching profession. The organization is guided by four key principles:

  1. Data-informed improvement
  2. Common outcome measures
  3. Empirical validation of effectiveness
  4. Transparency and accountability for results.

The Joyce Education Program has spent more than a decade helping build the research base to show that teachers are the biggest in-school determinant of student learning. More recently, we have begun supporting efforts to transform educator preparation to help ensure teachers are well prepared when they first step into classrooms. 

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