According to a study reported on by The Economist, 4 and 5 year-olds not told what could be done with an unfamiliar object explored it for longer and came up with more ideas than control groups who were shown, to varying degrees. The Economist states:
The researchers’ conclusion was that, in the context of strange toys of unknown function, prior explanation does, indeed, inhibit exploration and discovery. Generalising from that would be ambitious. But it suggests that further research might be quite a good idea.
Does this imply that the advocates of discovery learning (and their associated preference for “guide on the side” to “sage on the stage”) are right?