This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Learning From Mother Nature About Teaching Our Children: Ten Simple Truths

3) The community is the classroom. Children in hunter-gatherer societies and other traditional societies are immersed in the activities of the whole community. They witness directly all the sustenance activities. They hear first-hand the stories, conversations, and arguments of adults, and they participate, along with adults, in their culture's dances, games, and ceremonies. Because they are exposed to all aspects of their culture, they can incorporate all of the culture's relevant skills into their practice and play. They attend not just to others' actions but also to the consequences of those actions, and their observations are tinged with value judgments. Children learn what not to do from witnessing others' failures, just as they learn what to do from witnessing others' successes. They learn to emulate the most successful members of their culture—those who are best at solving life's problems and most admired by others—and to avoid acting like those who are least successful.

4) Learning must be immediately reinforcing. Education has unquestionable long-term benefits, but those are generally insufficient to motivate young learners. All species, including humans, find it difficult if not impossible to learn when the costs of learning are immediate and the benefits are much delayed. In the language of behaviorists, learning requires "reinforcers"—immediate, satisfying consequences that serve as incentives. In children's self-motivated exploration and play, the reinforcers lie in the discoveries made, the immediate sense of increased skill, the pleasures of the activities themselves, and social feedback (which may be as simple as a playmate's smile). These all contribute to the joy of learning. In today's world, such skills as reading and mathematics have long- term benefits, but children eagerly engage in them only if there are immediate benefits.

5) Learning occurs best in mixed-age settings. Before the existence of graded schools, children were rarely segregated by age. Age mixing seems to be crucial for learning in hunter-gatherer and many other traditional societies. Children have more to learn from others who are older or younger than themselves than from those their same age. Young children want to emulate older children, who serve as more powerful models than adults because their skills and knowledge are closer and more attainable. In age-mixed play younger children engage in and learn from activities that would be too complex for them to do alone or just with age-mates. In the process of helping younger children, older children consolidate their own skills.

As every teacher knows, we often learn more by teaching than by being taught, especially if our students freely challenge us. Older children also exercise their nurturing and leadership skills through interactions with younger ones.

2 of 5

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,804.71 -238.19 -1.40%
S&P 500 1,946.16 -26.13 -1.32%
NASDAQ 4,422.0850 -71.3050 -1.59%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs