Forget intelligence, give us wisdom

9th January 2009 at 00:00

Paul Howard-Jones raises very legitimate concerns regarding the influence of medical and technological "advances" on our children's education and learning ("Brain teasers", The TES Magazine, January 2).

We already know about the mounting research evidence exposing the damage done by an increasingly ubiquitous screen culture, especially to young children, and its scandalously uncritical embracing by the likes of the interim Rose report (for the independent review of the primary curriculum) and the early years foundation stage guidelines on information technology.

We now face a truly nightmarish scenario if drugs are to be routinely used to enhance narrowly defined so-called "intelligence" in a medicalised brave new educational world.

And dare we trust politicians obsessed with academic league table performance - not to mention pharmaceutical interests - to make ethically mature decisions about these technologies?

We need to reaffirm Einstein's distinction between information, on the one hand, and knowledge and wisdom, on the other.

It is against these worst excesses of modernity that many holistic educators are, thankfully, beginning to take a principled and vociferous stand.

Dr Richard House, Research Centre for Therapeutic Education, Roehampton University, London.

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