School & District Management Report Roundup

Researchers Examine Importance of Learning From ‘Explaining’

By Mary C. Breaden — January 29, 2008 1 min read

Learning From Explaining: Does It Matter if Mom Is Listening?

Learning improves dramatically among young children who take the time to explain academic concepts to their mothers or who explain their logic aloud to themselves, a study shows.

In particular, the study—conducted by a team of researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.—found that 4- and 5-year-olds who explained concepts to their mothers before taking a test scored correctly on 75 percent of the questions on a test of reasoning, and children who explained concepts aloud to themselves prior to the test scored 72 percent correct. On the other hand, children who did not explain the concepts at all prior to taking the test scored only 42 percent correct.

The study examined 54 youngsters’ ability to correctly place toy insects in a certain pattern based on color and type. A majority of the children studied were from middle-class white families.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 30, 2008 edition of Education Week

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