Spiders in Budapest: Deeper Understanding of the Brain

“Why can I forget what the capital of Hungary is, but not that I’m afraid of spiders?” Michael S. C. Thomas kicks off his website “How The Brain Works” with this intriguing question. Dr. Thomas is a good person to



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Dodging “Dodgy” Research: Strategies to Get Past Bunk

If we’re going to rely on research to improve teaching — that’s why you’re here, yes? — we need to hone our skepticism skills. After all, we don’t want just any research. We want the good stuff. But, we face



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Research Summary: The Best and Worst Highlighting Strategies

Does highlighting help students learn? As is so often the case, the answer is: it depends. The right kind of highlighting can help. But, the wrong kind doesn’t help. (And, might hurt.) And, most students do the wrong kind. Today’s



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Let’s Have More Fun with the Correlation/Causation Muddle

We’ve explored the relationship of correlation and causation before on the blog. In particular, this commentary on DeBoer’s blog notes that — while correlation doesn’t prove causation — it might be a useful first step in discovering causation. DeBoer argues



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“Wait Just a Minute!”: The Benefits of Procrastination?

“A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today.” This quotation, attributed to Karen Lamb, warns us about the dangers of procrastination. Presumably our students would propose a slightly modified version: “The night before the test, I’ll wish I



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True/False: Grades Motivate Students to Study Better?

The following story is true. (The names have been left out because I’ve forgotten them.) When I attended graduate school in education, I handed in my first essay with some trepidation, and lots of excitement. Like my classmates, I had



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Physics and Engineering: My New Year’s Resolution

  Over on Twitter, @DylanWilliam wrote: “[P]hysics tells you about the properties of materials but it’s the engineer who designs the bridge. Similarly, psychology tells us about how our brains work, but it’s teachers who craft instruction.” In other words,



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New Research: Personal Best Goals (Might) Boost Learning

Some research-based suggestions for teaching require a lot of complex changes. (If you want to develop an interleaved syllabus, you’re going to need some time.) Others couldn’t be simpler to adopt. Here’s a suggestion from researchers Down Under: encourage your



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Bit by Bit, Putting It Together

Over at Teacherhead, Tom Sherrington has posted a form that teachers can use for lesson plans. He has put together different versions: one filled-in with explanations, another left blank for teachers to use, yet another for adapting and editing. The Bigger



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New Year, New Habits: More Learning!

When the school year starts back up in January, teachers would LOVE to use this fresh start for good. In particular, our students might have developed some counter-productive habits during the first half of the year. Wouldn’t it be great



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