An Evolutionary Approach to Classroom Instruction: Universal Human Learning Mechanisms and Why They Should Matter to Teachers

By Jamie Lynn Mahlberg.

Published by The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Effective classroom instruction techniques have emerged as a complex domain of scientific inquiry and educational researchers must begin to explore theoretical domains that may allow for more robust understanding of instructional best practices. Darwinian evolution, a theoretical perspective enhancing knowledge within the social and biological sciences, is one perspective that can grant benefits to educational science through its application to learning theory and classroom instruction. Evolutionary theory sits on the periphery of major theories of learning, but the integration of evolutionary ideas into theories of classroom instruction is less visible. This paper will examine a theoretical approach to educational practice connecting evolutionary principles of universal human learning (e.g. association and social learning) to classroom instruction contending that Darwin’s theory can be used to inform classroom instructional practices. Agreed upon best practices will be re-interpreted incorporating evolutionary reasoning for their effectiveness. Finally, hypotheses to guide future educational research using evolutionary theory will be proposed.

Keywords: Evolutionary Theory, Classroom Instruction, Universal Learning Mechanisms

International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp.15-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 232.575KB).

Jamie Lynn Mahlberg

Doctoral Student, Educational Leadership, Minnesota State University Mankato, Mankato, USA