Stephen Pinker

/Tag: Stephen Pinker

How do children learn to speak?

2019-02-08T07:39:29+01:00February 8th, 2019|language|

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 [...]

Essay writing: style and substance

2017-01-15T10:19:18+01:00November 17th, 2015|English, writing|

You have such strong words at command, that they make the smallest argument seem formidable. George Eliot As with most subjects, the step up from GCSE to A level English literature is tough. You can get a pretty good grade at GCSE without developing a critical style or understand much about the art of constructing an academic essay. Students' work is routinely littered with stock phrases such as "I know this because" and "this shows" all of which shift the focus from having to think about subject content in sophisticated ways to simply learning a collection of fail-safe formulas. Of the 4 [...]