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Social and Behavioral Sciences Commons

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2016

Utah State University

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Full-Text Articles in Social and Behavioral Sciences

Teaching: Natural Or Cultural?, David F. Lancy Jul 2016

Teaching: Natural Or Cultural?, David F. Lancy

Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology Faculty Publications

In this chapter I argue that teaching, as we now understand the term, is historically and cross-culturally very rare. It appears to be unnecessary to transmit culture or to socialize children. Children are, on the other hand, primed by evolution to be avid observers, imitators, players and helpers—roles that reveal the profoundly autonomous and self-directed nature of culture acquisition (Lancy in press a). And yet, teaching is ubiquitous throughout the modern world—at least among the middle to upper class segment of the population. This ubiquity has led numerous scholars to argue for the universality and uniqueness of teaching ...