How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses
In 2009, scientists from the University of Louisville and MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences conducted a study of 48 children between the ages of 3 and 6. The kids were presented with a toy that could squeak, play notes, and reflect images, among other things. For one set of children, a researcher demonstrated a single attribute and then let them play with the toy. Another set of students was given no information about the toy. This group played longer and discovered an average of six attributes of the toy; the group that was told what to do discovered only about four. A similar study at UC Berkeley demonstrated that kids given no instruction were much more likely to come up with novel solutions to a problem. Gopnik's research is informed in part by advances in artificial intelligence. A Brief History of Alternative Schools New research shows what educators have long intuited: Letting kids pursue their own interests sharpens their hunger for knowledge. 1921A.
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