What is Tutoring? On the Nature and Origin of Human Pedagogy
Donald M. Morrison
This chapter identifies the fundamental nature of human tutoring, more generally teaching, as a joint-attentional activity (Bruner, 1972; Tomasello, 1999) in which a relative expert, through a series of one or more deliberate communicative acts, goes out of her or his way to help a relative novice acquire some new and generally useful component of knowledge or skill. Because of its central dependence on language, I argue that tutoring has deep roots in human evolution, likely having first emerged, along with an early form of language, at least two million years ago, under pressure for an enhanced system of communication capable of better supporting cooperative foraging and transmission of critical knowledge and skill from one generation to the next. Over time, individuals whose brains and bodies made them even slightly better at using the new system for teaching and learning became better fed and better at attracting mates. The result was an evolutionary explosion that continues to shake the planet. Modern tutoring practices reflect this deep evolutionary history, combining tactics, strategies, and metastrategies specific to certain cultures and subcultures with others which may be traced back to the very beginnings of human language, and teaching through language.
Keywords: tutoring, teaching, human evolution, language evolution, natural pedagogy
APA citation information
Morrison, D. M. (2018). What is tutoring? On the nature and origin of Human pedagogy. In S. D. Craig (Ed.). Tutoring and Intelligent Tutoring Systems (pp. 3-40). New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
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