Pedagogical questions promote causal learning in preschoolers
Daubert, E. N., Yu, Y., Grados, M., Shafto, P., & Bonawitz, E. (2020). Pedagogical questions promote causal learning in preschoolers. Scientific Reports, 10, Article 20700. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-77883-5
What maximizes instructional impact in early childhood? We propose a simple intervention employing “Pedagogical Questions”. We explore whether swapping some instructional language with questions in psychosomatic storybooks improves preschoolers’ memory, learning, and generalization. Seventy-two preschoolers were randomly assigned to one of three conditions and were read storybooks employing either Direct Instruction, Pedagogical Questions, or Control content. Posttest measures of psychosomatic understanding, judgments about the possibility of psychosomatic events, and memory for storybook details showed that children in the Pedagogical Questions condition demonstrated greater memory for relevant storybook details and improved psychosomatic understanding. Our results suggest that pedagogical questions are a relatively simple educational manipulation to improve memory, learning, and transfer of theory-rich content.
NSF Award DRL-1660885
NSF Award SMA-1640816
Jacobs Foundation Fellowship