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Cognitive Underpinnings of Teaching
jeudi 17 décembre 2015

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Conférence donnée par Sidney Strauss dans le cadre du  colloque international organisé par le Groupe Compas (Ecole normale supérieure), avec le soutien du Collège d’études mondiales/FMSH, de l’École normale supérieure, de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne (équipe Sciences, normes, décision) et du GDRI « Éducation et neurosciences » du CNRS.

Exposé lors de la deuxième table-ronde intitulée "Teaching Minds".

Although cognitive scientists have studied learning extensively, teaching, which causes learning, has been quite neglected. I attempt to motivate reasons why cognitive scientists might be interested to examine teaching. The flip side is that educational researchers might want to take cues from the cognitive sciences to explore teaching in new ways.
A multidisciplinary approach to teaching, in its broadest sense, can possibly bring about a shift in our understanding of human teaching. Among the many disciplines are: cultural evolution, primatology, phylogeny, anthropology, brain sciences, child development from infancy through adulthood, non-normative cognitive development and functioning, cognitive archeology, education, and more.

At the heart of my cognitive view of teaching is the idea that it may be a natural cognitive ability among humans. Many claims follow from that idea. The converging evidence for this idea is as follows; teaching:
·    with an understanding of others’ minds is species-specific for humans
·    is universal among humans (species-typical)
·    is developmentally reliable; it:
o    is remarkably complex cognitively
o    is mostly invisible
o    does not require instruction to be learned
o    is learned effortlessly
o    has precursors in preverbal infants at age 1
o    appears at a very early age (age 3)

Given this, we would want to know what the cognitive prerequisites of teaching are, what their developmental trajectories might be and where we can conduct research to investigate them.

Teaching is a form of social communication. Most of the cognitive prerequisites for teaching are not unique to teaching (e.g., monitoring). This leads to the question about what makes teaching different from other forms of social communication, which is another way of asking what the definition of teaching is.

And, if one believes that teaching just might be a natural cognitive ability, some questions arise about the nature of teacher education programs.

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Sidney Strauss
Université de Tel Aviv

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Sidney Strauss enseigne au département de psychologie à l'Université de Tel Aviv. Il est titulaire d'une Chaire de recherche sur le développement et l'éducation de l'enfant.

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Dernière mise à jour : 06/09/2022