At the upcoming Learning & the Brain® educational conference in Boston, MA, the 2013 Transforming Education Through Neuroscience Award will be presented to Dr. David B. Daniel from James Madison University for his contributions to the field of Mind, Brain and Education.
November 12, 2013 – A pioneering educator and researcher who studies classroom pedagogy, cognitive development and the translation of Mind, Brain and Education to teaching practice will be awarded the sixth annual prize for “Transforming Education through Neuroscience.” The award was established by the Learning & the Brain Foundation and The International Mind, Brain and Education Society (IMBES) to honor an individual who represents excellence in bridging neuroscience and education. The $5,000 award will be used to “support translational efforts bridging scientific findings and classroom practice.”
David B. Daniel, PhD, a James Madison University professor, is being honored for his tireless and creative efforts to develop the infrastructure of the field of Mind, Brain and Education, which tries to focus research in neuroscience, cognitive science and other fields onto classrooms and learning. Along with his efforts to create better teaching and learning in K-12 schools and at the university level, Dr. Daniel has been facilitating the building of sound organizational structures and effective communication processes in the field of Mind, Brain and Education for many years. He is a founding IMBES board member and former executive director of the Society. He has also been the managing editor of Mind, Brain and Education, the first journal focusing on the intersection between education, neuroscience, cognitive science and other fields, since it began. The journal was recognized in 2008 as the “Best New Journal in the Humanities and Social Sciences” by the Association of American Publishers Academic Division.
According to Kurt Fischer, Charles Warland Bigelow Professor and director of the Harvard Mind, Brain and Education Program, “David Daniel has been the most important force behind the creation of the journal Mind, Brain, and Education and its success in connecting the work of teachers and researchers around the world. Quietly behind the scenes he has made things happen productively and thoughtfully. We appreciate his broad and deep contributions to the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society, the journal, and so many activities that are bringing together researchers and practitioners everywhere.”
Dr. Daniel has been a strong advocate for the careful translation of appropriate scientific findings to practice, and has wisely urged caution for doing so prematurely. “In a field where it’s easy to get carried away by theory, David Daniel stands out as a voice for keeping the eye of the scientist on the classroom–as well as encouraging teachers to keep an eye on the laboratory. He is the most sensible scientist I know in this regard,” wrote Daniel Willingham, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia.
Especially important is his framing of an ecological approach to pedagogical research, which works to specify how controlled cognitive laboratory environments alter and simplify learning situations, often rendering the findings difficult or impossible to realistically implement in real-world contexts. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, assistant professor at the University of Southern California stated that, “Dr. Daniel exemplifies the rare scholar who recognizes the complexity of the dynamic interaction between teaching and learning, and understands how to responsibly translate scientific findings into educational initiatives.”
While his high quality teaching brings him the most accolades, Dr. Daniel provides continual, but often low-profile, mentoring and advising of teachers and young interdisciplinary scholars. He helps them make optimal contributions to the field and simultaneously furthers their own thinking and career goals. You will find Dr. Daniel’s name in the acknowledgements of many articles and books in the field. He has also played a critical role in facilitating high-quality dialogue between researchers and educational practitioners in a variety of settings. As with his efforts to develop the field, Dr. Daniel generally works quietly behind the scenes, looking for strategic, genuine and sound ways to move the field forward by supporting others in meaningfully connecting their research with practice.
Daniel Ansari, a neuroscientist and associate professor at the University of Western Ontario, wrote, “Dr. Daniel is one of the few people who really sits in the middle between science and practice and is committed to establishing ways of crossing between the two. This is a rare and difficult balancing act, but essential for the field to grow.”
The prize will be presented to Dr. Daniel by Professor Fischer at the upcoming Learning & the Brain® educational conference in Boston, MA on Saturday, November, 16, held at the Westin Copley Hotel. The Learning & the Brain Foundation and the International Mind Brain and Education Society wish Dr. Daniel our heartiest congratulations.