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Learning by example

On a similar theme to yesterday’s post comes this article by well-known psychologist Alison Gopnick. Its kernal is that kids learn better by imitating and refining what someone is showing them. She likens this method of learning to the way that a sports teacher might demonstrate a sport.

This effective method of learning is not normally employed for academic subjects. They tend to use ‘routinized learning’ method. This is a similar process to explicit learning, mentioned yesterday. There is simply not enough emphasis on the implicit methods of learning.

Imagine if you could watch a maths teacher trying to solve a problem they’d never seen before and explaining how they worked it out. Imagine if you could watch an English teacher trying to write an answer to an essay question about Shakespeare. Gopnik calls this ‘guided discovery’.

About the author

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.

He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:

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> From The New York Times