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Listen and learn: A new model for teaching

Teachers, do those relentless questions from the front row drive you crazy as you attempt to cover today’s state-mandated lesson plan? Then you’ll hate Paul Harris’ controversial new book, Fortune reports. In Trusting What You’re Told, the Harvard professor of education challenges entrenched notions of cognitive development. Rather than seeing children as “scientists in the crib” who learn through hands-on observation, Harris argues that they’re nascent anthropologists who learn best from the “testimony” of “informants.” That’s how we find out the world is round, for example. Harris’ research cuts against much of what happens in today’s classrooms; instead, it demands verbally acute teachers — one might imagine Mister Rogers as the paragon — as well as patient parents.

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