Imitation = Learning

Imitation, it seems, is not just the truest form of flattery, but also of learning.

In an article at The National Association of Scholars, reference is made to a new article in Science about how children learn. Then it goes on to apply the article:

We know by instinct that children need to learn from adults. That’s why parents read to their children and show them how to tie their shoes. That’s why teachers give classroom instruction, have students repeat words after them, and demonstrate math problems on the whiteboard. It all makes sense. But John Dewey (1859-1952), whose theories have shaped the progressive education movement, declared in 1897 in My Pedagogic Creed that “The teacher is not in the school to impose certain ideas or to form certain habits in the child, but is there as a member of the community to select the influences which shall affect the child and to assist him in properly responding to these influences.”

The idea that the teacher should not teach so much as help students participate in the “social consciousness of the race,” became popular (concurrent with the self-esteem era), and education schools around the United States now embrace Dewey’s theories. De-emphasizing textbooks, tests, and teachers’ lessons led to the “child-centered” concept that students can create their own schooling. Even university professors such as Ken Smith (subscription required) have decided to shrug and “allow a few more variants” when it comes to his students’ spelling. Without standards and the guidance of a teaching adult, academics become individualistic and nonsensical. Dewey believed that learning should be social, but removing the authority of the instructor actually slows down the social learning process.

Ashley Thorne has some interesting points in this.

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