The title of this post is a abbreviated quote from one of the authors of a study that was released today, and you can read about it at Don’t show, don’t tell?

The research involved giving a toy to children, with different instructions. You can read the details in the article, but here are the conclusions:

These results suggest children are extremely sensitive to the subtleties of a teaching scenario, Schulz says: What matters is not if children are shown a function, but how they are shown that function. If they believe that an informed teacher has taught them everything, they will be less motivated to explore.

…the study underscores the real-world trade-offs between education and exploration, and the importance of acknowledging what is unknown even while imparting what is known. Teachers should, where possible, offer the caveat that there may be more to learn.

“Teachers can say things like, ‘I’m showing you what we think is true, but there are a lot of other possibilities you should consider,'” Schulz says.

This is one of the reasons I’m such a fan of inductive learning, which I discuss at length here in my blog and in my newest book.