The npj Science of Learning Community presents research focussing on the mind, brain and education space. This month, our wonderful authors showed us a new method of igniting the flame of curiosity in the minds of students. Plus we learnt how genetic variants play their part in a student’s academic achievement at school.

Garvin Brod and Jasmin Breitwieser, based at the Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education in Germany, tested whether they could stimulate students’ desire to learn by asking them to predict what the answer would be to a series of questions, before being told the answer. The researchers believe sparking curiosity is an effective strategy to teach large groups of students, because it leads them to unintentionally gather information and increase learning. Are you curious about their study and Want to know more?

Sophie von Stumm is a Jacobs Foundation Research Fellow and Professor of Psychology in Education based at the University of York in London, who talked about why genetic variants in an individual might affect their achievement at school. She described how understanding ‘heritable traits’ is important to appreciating a student’s ‘genetic tendencies or probabilities to perform at a certain level’ – but the effort a student puts into learning new information is significant to improving their overall academic performance at school. Discover more about Sophie von Stumm’s brilliant blog post Why do some children perform better at school than others?

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