Education: An Old Idea Makes a Comeback

Apprenticeship helps teach the skill of problem solving

The word evokes quaint images of cabinetmakers or alchemists teaching eager youths the secrets of their trade. Yet apprenticeship -- the acquisition of knowledge through practice in the presence of a master -- is a time-tested teaching method whose applications go far beyond the shop floor. The principle is at work every time someone takes a total-immersion language lesson, follows a doctor on his rounds to learn how to practice medicine, or tags along with a crack dealer to learn the ropes of the drug trade. In fact, a body of scientists and educators maintains that it is the primary means...

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