Teachers matter (but not in the way we might think)

Behavioural geneticist Robert Plomin has distilled his more than 40 years of research into a controversial book that has some stark messages for education: schools, teachers and parents are not what make us different from one another. And that, he tells Jon Severs, means we have to change the way we think about learning

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His knee is a problem: he is awaiting an operation and his leg has to be kept straight. So his 6ft 4in frame has become a near-horizontal bridge across the small office, connecting a little black footstool that raises his left ankle and a chair that supports the majority of his weight.

To make eye contact, he has to turn his head 10cm to the left, drop his chin, lose his neck. But, even with all the scaffolding, he still shifts, winces and repositions repeatedly.

He looks awkward. Uncomfortable. And if you are one of the world’s leading behavioural geneticists, one who is about to say what he ...

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