So-called ‘educational innovations’ in which the teacher assumes the role of 'facilitator, mentor or coach' do not appear to be very successful. Nevertheless, 'constructivist' ideas are still popular in education, as evidenced by the everlasting large number of minimally guided instructional practices.
In chapter 2 of my book, Making Kids Cleverer, I discuss, David Geary's theory of biologically primary and secondary knowledge. Human beings seem to have various universal behaviours and characteristics in common regardless of the specific culture into which they're born. Geary's theory suggests that such species-wide traits must have some root in evolution and he argues that the capacity to learn 'folk knowledge' is a biologically primary evolutionary adaption. This means that we tend to pick up the knowledge of how to interact with our environments quickly and easily through mimicry without the need for instruction. When considering what should [...]