The evolved classroom: Using evolutionary theory to inform elementary pedagogy.

Because the goal of education is to provide children with the skills needed to succeed later in life, it should come as no surprise that there is seemingly unending dispute about how best to educate our children. From an evolutionary perspective, the current system of education in the United States may be seen as highly unnatural and mismatched with the evolutionary history of our species. For example, rather than learning in mixed-age playgroups, children now find themselves in compulsory age-segregated classrooms completely directed by an unfamiliar adult. By bringing pedagogical methods related to early forms of education into modern schools, there is the potential to minimize adverse effects from evolutionary mismatch. In this study, we surveyed a sample of 361 students from the State University of New York at New Paltz (SUNY New Paltz). From these data, zero-order correlations were used to find a relationship between a composite variable representing evolutionary relevance in education and variables representing various measures of success. A further mediation analysis was conducted to better explain the relationships. Results from the study suggest that a more evolutionarily relevant education does, in fact, lead to success through both secondary and postsecondary education. These findings support the ability of evolutionary theory to inform elementary pedagogy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)