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2 - Questions in Development

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2020

Lucas Payne Butler
University of Maryland, College Park
Samuel Ronfard
University of Toronto Mississauga
Kathleen H. Corriveau
Boston University
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Everyone will likely acknowledge that attitudes such as curiosity and interest are vitally important for learning, and that young children ask so many questions because they are intensely curious and interested in the world around them. But the nature of these questioning attitudes themselves is poorly understood. Indeed, many have a mistaken view of them – or so I will claim. In consequence, many are led to give mistaken accounts of the cognitive processes that underlie children’s asking and answering of questions, too. This matters, both for our understanding of childhood development generally and for designing interventions that are intended to help children learn. This chapter has two main goals. One is to offer a fresh set of conceptual resources for those wanting to understand childhood development – specifically, the likely existence from infancy of a set of first–order, non–metacognitive, questioning attitudes. The second is to suggest that the early question–asking and question–answering behavior of infants and toddlers is best understood as expressive of such attitudes, rather than providing evidence of early metacognition.

The Questioning Child
Insights from Psychology and Education
, pp. 6 - 28
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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