Seventh International School On Mind, Brain And Education

2012 July 30 - August 4

Teaching: A New Frontier
of the Neurocognitive
Sciences, Education
and Culture

Directors: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Program officer: María Lourdes Majdalani

Abstract: Sidney Strauss
School of Education, Tel Aviv University. ISRAEL

Teaching’s wide scope
Teaching, one of mankind’s greatest achievements, may be a natural cognitive ability. I ask: why do we teach in the first place and what has to be in place for it to happen? Multidisciplinary answers to that question come from phylogeny, brain sciences, ontogeny, computer sciences, archeology, and anthropology. Nonhuman animals teach, but without intentionality and knowledge of others’ mental states. Only human teaching involves a theory of mind. The human brain that resulted from phylogeny is uniquely constructed to allow intentional teaching. In human ontogenesis, infants come prepared to receive teaching. Teachings’ many cognitive strands develop separately yet are intertwined from infancy through adulthood. Teaching may be a species-general universal achievement. All or virtually all societies have teaching.