Whereas a large body of research has focused on the development of children as learners, relatively little research has focused on the development of children as teachers. Moreover, even less research has focused on the potential cognitive mechanisms associated with high-quality teaching. Here, we review evidence that children’s selective teaching is associated with at least three cognitive skills: the ability to represent mental states, the ability to infer mental states in real-time, as well as executive function skills. We note potential (...) cultural differences in children’s teaching and highlight the need for future research. (shrink)
Human culture is uniquely complex compared to other species. This complexity stems from the accumulation of culture over time through high- and low-fidelity transmission and innovation. One possible reason for why humans retain and create culture, is our ability to modulate teaching strategies in order to foster learning and innovation. We argue that teaching is more diverse, flexible, and complex in humans than in other species. This particular characteristic of human teaching rather than teaching itself is one of the reasons (...) for human’s incredible capacity for cumulative culture. That is, humans unlike other species can signal to learners whether the information they are teaching can or cannot be modified. As a result teaching in humans can be used to support high or low fidelity transmission, innovation, and ultimately, cumulative culture. (shrink)
Recent findings have shown that children’s teaching is guided by their evaluation of what a pupil does versus does not know. While children certainly teach to remedy a knowledge gap between themselves and a learner, we argue that children’s appraisal of the nature of the knowledge that they are seeking to convey and not just whether a knowledge gap exists plays an important role in children’s decision to transmit information. Specifically, we argue that children are more likely to transmit information (...) a pupil does not know in at least three cases: if that information is difficult for the learner to acquire on her own, generic rather than specific, and normative rather than descriptive. (shrink)
Osiurak and Reynaud argue that children are not a good methodological choice to examine cumulative technological culture. However, the paper ignores other current work that suggests that young children do display some aspects of creative problem-solving. We argue that using multiple methodologies and examining how technical-reasoning develops in children will provide crucial support for a cognitive approach to CTC.