This book synthesizes an array of research and shows how these insights can contribute to a better understanding of human learning, especially as this relates to adolescence. By mis-understanding teenagers’ instinctive need to do things for themselves, society is in danger of creating a system of schooling that so goes against the natural grain of the adolescent brain that formal education ends up unintentionally trivialising the very young people it claims to be supporting. By failing to keep up with appropriate research in the biological and social sciences, current educational systems continue to treat adolescence as a problem rather than an opportunity.

This book is about the need for transformational change in education. It synthesizes an array of research from both the physical and social sciences and shows how these insights can contribute to a better understanding of human learning, especially as this relates to adolescence. The book was conceived through a series of international conferences, and considers the education systems in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Its intention is to shake education out of its two-century’s-old inertia. In the saga of the ages, if a generation fails, the fault lies squarely with the previous generation for not equipping them well enough for the changes ahead. The most immoral thing a person can ever say is: ‘This will last out my time’.

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The Initiative published a pre-production of John Abbott and Heather MacTaggart’s new book Overschooled but Undereducated: Society’s Failure to Understand Adolescence in June 2008. In December 2008 Continuum Books agreed to publish the book in November 2009.

With the publication of Overschooled but Undereducated the Initiative now has, in compact form, the most complete, persuasive and concise argument for the overhaul of current systems of education and a catalyst-in-print for the reassessment of outdated thinking that governs educational policy and attitudes towards learning and schooling in the West.