The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach

The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach

The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach

The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach

Synopsis

Merging cognitive science with the educational agenda, Gardner begins with a fascinating look at the young child's mind and concludes with a sweeping program for educational reform. The book shows how both the ancient art of apprenticeship and the modern children's museum both work because learning takes place in context.

Excerpt

In 1840 Charles Darwin began to keep a diary on the activities of his first-born infant son, William. Darwin noted William's early reflexes, contrasting them with subsequently learned behaviors. He examined the child's sensory systems, noting for example that William gazed at a candle on his 9th day, attended to a brightly colored tassel on his 49th day, and attempted to seize objects on his 132d day. William's "higher senses," including memory, language, curiosity, and reasoning powers, were also surveyed. Countless parents had made such observations before, but Darwin was perhaps the first to publish his observations, as he did, thirty-seven years later in the second volume of the British journal Mind.

Darwin realized, as medieval painters apparently had not, that infants and young children are not just miniature versions of adults. While there is a continuity between the young child and the mature adult, just as there is between human beings and their primate antecedents, there exists a developmental or evolutionary process through which every human being must pass. Through his own example as an observant parent, and by dint of his seminal ideas about the ev-

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