Brain development through conversation
A Slate article about children being made smart through conversation has been fairly persistent on Hacker News for the last day or so:
Six years ago, Suskind noticed a disturbing trend among her patients at the University of Chicago Medicine: While children from affluent families were starting to speak after implant surgery, those from low-income families lagged behind.
Why? The question ate at Suskind, who co-founded the hospital’s cochlear implant unit in 2006. She believes she discovered her answer in research by child psychologists Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley. Their landmark study in the 1990s found that a child born into poverty hears 30 million fewer words by age 3 than a child born to well-off parents, creating a gap in literacy preparation that has implications for a lifetime.
As the the article points out, we've known this for nearly 20 years now. And, if you think about it, the fact that we learn through interaction seems pretty obvious. The trouble is of course that interaction is difficult to scale, unlike 'instruction' which you can deliver en masse.
I was talking to my taxi driver this morning about stuff like this (which is something I'll miss when self-driving cars become common). We agreed that there's a lot of things that would be good to implement in education but that it's not politically or socially OK to discuss.
I'm looking for the happy day when politics and education are divorced from one another. I'd like class and gender and other things that impact on education to be discussed as a society. That discussion unfortunately, may not come in my lifetime. :-/