Questioning supports effective transmission of knowledge and increased exploratory learning in pre-kindergarten children

Yue Yu, Asheley R. Landrum, Elizabeth Bonawitz, Patrick Shafto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

How can education optimize transmission of knowledge while also fostering further learning? Focusing on children at the cusp of formal schooling (N = 180, age = 4.0–6.0 y), we investigate learning after direct instruction by a knowledgeable teacher, after questioning by a knowledgeable teacher, and after questioning by a naïve informant. Consistent with previous findings, instruction by a knowledgeable teacher allows effective information transmission but at the cost of exploration and further learning. Critically, we find a dual benefit for questioning by a knowledgeable teacher: Such pedagogical questioning both effectively transmits knowledge and fosters exploration and further learning, regardless of whether the question was directed to the child or directed to a third party and overheard by the child. These effects are not observed when the same question is asked by a naïve informant. We conclude that a teacher's choice of pedagogical method may differentially influence learning through their choices of how, and how not, to present evidence, with implications for transmission of knowledge and self-directed discovery. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJXH2b65wL8.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12696
JournalDevelopmental Science
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2018

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