John Morgan

Are we all natural learners?


How much knowledge would a child acquire if they never set foot in a classroom? And how much instruction from a teacher is too much? The answers to these questions underpin age-old debates around how teachers should teach, but John Morgan finds that the research paints a mixed picture on humans’ innate ability to learn

Are we all natural learners?

In the Paleolithic era, children really understood the value of learning. Hunter-gatherer youths either learned the way back from the river to their hut or they ended up lost in the forest, meeting a sabre-toothed tiger for a one-sided lunch. Either they worked out how to locate a delicious woolly mammoth or they starved for want of woolly mammoth steaks as adults. Either they picked up enough of the local protolanguage to warn their parents that axe-wielding guys from the other tribe were approaching or the whole family felt the consequences of their failure to engage with self-directed ...

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