The double-edged sword of pedagogy

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This reference is used to annotate "I would never send my kids to school" (2017) by Piotr Wozniak

It has been shown over and over again that direct instruction suppresses exploration, learn drive, generalization, creativity, problem solving, and more.

The school system feeds on the illusion that good performance in tests justifies structured learning. This underlies the compulsory nature of schooling that increasingly inflicts harm on new generations.

Pedagogy promotes efficient learning but at a cost: children are less likely to perform potentially irrelevant actions but also less likely to discover novel information

In the excerpt above, efficient learning is understood as learning whose efficiency was measured in a short time span after the experiment (or a real life situation). In reality, we cannot ignore long-term effects of learning. It is the exploratory learning that is more likely to produce coherent memory images that will show higher stability. I would then rephrase the above to: "Pedagogy promotes short-term learning but at a cost: children are less likely to perform potentially irrelevant actions but also less likely to discover novel information that will enhance long-term learning".

When we limit diversity of knowledge, we reduce the chances of children learning from each other. In addition, the label of reliability attached to a teacher will affect knowledge valuation network output. This will inhibit skepticism, which is an important force encouraging exploration.

In pedagogical contexts, a teacher’s failure to provide evidence for additional functions provides evidence for their absence; such contexts generalize from child to child (because children are likely to have comparable states of knowledge) but not from adult to child


Quoted excerpts come from the following reference:

Title: The double-edged sword of pedagogy: Instruction limits spontaneous exploration and discovery

Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3369499/

Journal: Cognition

Date: 2011

Authors: Bonawitz, Shafto, Gweon, Goodman, Spelke, Schulz

Backlink: Direct instruction blocks pathways to great discoveries