Using the Medical Model in Education: Can Pills Make You Clever?

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Medicine, and particularly neuroscience, appears to offer the kind of educational quick fixes that politicians and the public would love to have. Following media reports of drugs that seemingly improve learning and memory, David Turner examines commonly held beliefs about learning, knowledge and intelligence, and critically assesses such claims. Using the Medical Model in Education then moves beyond the immediate, fashionable or any specific substance, to a deeper examination of what society does or should expect in terms of results, from the educational system. Many of the underlying problems facing science and education have persisted, with slight modifications, over decades and even centuries. By pointing to parallels between current debates and those presented in works by Aldous Huxley, Ludwig Wittgenstein or Noam Chomsky, the book shows that the important question is not whether or not we should administer modafinil in our schools, but whether we should think about education in medical terms at all.