Sidney Strauss

  • Center for Academic Studies, Or Yehuda, Israel;, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

  • Personal website

Sidney Strauss (that’s me) received his PhD in the School of Education at the University of California at Berkeley in 1967. I then did two years postdoctoral work in the Psychology Department, also at Berkeley, and then immigrated to Israel where I taught in the School of Education and Department of Psychology at Tel Aviv University (TAU) for 38 years. When at TAU, I was the first incumbent of the Branco Weiss Chair for Research in Child Development and Education. While teaching at TAU, I left academia for three years to be a public servant, working in the Israeli Ministry of Education as its Chief Scientist (no, this is not a title from Orwell’s 1984). Among the innovations I fostered in that capacity, I constructed an index through which $1.5 billion dollars have been distributed annually for teaching hours. It was then that I saw, first-hand, the role of politics (both large and small) in educational policy-making. I am currently teaching at the Center for Academic Studies in Or Yehuda near Tel Aviv. In addition, I was elected as a foreign affiliate of the National Academy of Education (USA) and was a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation’s center in Bellagio. My abiding interests center on child development, in the wide sense of that term. Over the past 15 years I have been working on, and was the first to suggest, that teaching is a natural cognitive ability on the part of humans. That idea has carried me to many domains. Among them are anthropology (teaching is universal, i.e., species-typical), cultural evolution (teaching is one form of social learning that allows for cumulative human culture), animal teaching (other animals teach but human teaching is different and species-unique), child development (teaching is developmentally reliable: precursors of teaching appear at age 1, teaching probably begins at age 3 but surely occurs at age 5, and it develops through adulthood).


Talk Title: How low can you go? Infants (almost) teach.

Date: March, 12th

Time: 19:00 – 20:00