New research from Vanderbilt reveals that children learn the solution to a problem best when they explain it to their mom. “We knew that children learn well with their moms or with a peer, but we did not know if that was because they were getting feedback and help,” says Bethany Rittle-Johnson, assistant professor of psychology and human development and the study’s lead author. Rittle-Johnson, with co-authors Megan Saylor, assistant professor of psychology, and graduate Kathryn Swygert, BS’06, set out to determine if 4- and 5-year-olds learn more when they must explain the solution to a problem to someone else. “We just had the children’s mothers listen, without providing any assistance,” says Rittle-Johnson. “We’ve found that by simply listening, a mother helps her child learn.” The research was published last July in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.
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