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Informal Instruction and Development of Cognitive Skills: A Review and Critique of Research

  • Jeanne D. Day
  • Luis A. Cordon
  • Mary Louise Kerwin

Abstract

Children grow up surrounded by other people. These people tell children things, sharing thoughts, feelings, knowledge, and attitudes; they help children accomplish tasks, completing parts children cannot; and they tend to offer less assistance as children become able to do more on their own. Children are also exposed, however, to people who do not share their knowledge and skills (or do so poorly), do not help children attempt new tasks, and/or do not encourage independent performance. Somehow, amid these myriad interactions, children learn and develop new skills. Two tempting hypotheses are that: (a) children develop because of the formal and informal instruction they receive and (b) those who receive better, more supportive instruction, have superior developmental outcomes. In this chapter we examine both hypotheses, and are forced to conclude that the causal links between informal instruction and cognitive development have not been established empirically. Rather than entertain the rival hypothesis that social interactions and cognitive development are parallel processes without cause-effect relations, we suggest conceptual and methodological refinements that may enable researchers to document how informal instructional interactions and cognitive development are related.

Keywords

Cognitive Development Cognitive Skill Teaching Style Balance Scale Proximal Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeanne D. Day
  • Luis A. Cordon
  • Mary Louise Kerwin

There are no affiliations available

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