What worked best for you as a child to learn new ideas and concepts? Who were your first teachers? Was it mostly school and the academic setup that provided you with a sound learning experience?
Because children absorb ideas and concepts like sponges at their formative years, as early, even, as infancy, emerging products and trends are encouraging teaching at an earlier age.
By the time formal education begins, particularly at the preschool level, kids may already know a plethora of information. The method of instruction, though, has been found to have an effect on their creativity and logical thinking.
Even though children learn quickly when taught, when they become too preoccupied with learning several facts and concepts at the same time, they might be missing out on the opportunity to become more exploratory or experimental with their thinking and problem-solving skills.
In a study by Alison Gopnik from the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, a group of 4-year-olds were tested on how they would react to two different types of teaching methods on how to make a toy tube squeak.
The first method involved an adult pretending to accidentally discover how to make the tube squeak.
The second method, on the other hand, involved the adult using direct teaching to show how to make the toy squeak.
The kids were afterwards made to play by themselves, and the researcher discovered that those from the first method tried different ways to make the toy squeak. Those from the second group, on the other hand, having been shown and taught that it was the way to make the toy squeak, repeated what the adult demonstrated.
What this study shows is that children learn to become more creative and learn how to arrive at their own solutions when given the freedom and opportunity to explore on their own. Those who were taught exactly how to solve a problem eliminated room for experimentation.
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Click here to read more about direct teaching and its effects on preschoolers.