Powerful Evidence: Self-Control Training Works — and Changes Brains

Both survey data and fMRI neuroimaging suggest that a program to help poor children develop self-control skills had real benefits over many years. Continue reading

Putting The Canary on a Better Book Shelf

A student’s “prior misconceptions” often interfere with new learning. To help them understand new material, we first need to identify the misconceptions that make it hard to understand in the first place. Continue reading

Decorating the Classroom: How Much Is Too Much?

Teachers decorate classrooms for many reasons — especially to make students feel at home. Recent research, however, suggests that too much decoration distracts students’ attention an interferes with their memory. When it comes to classroom decoration, there can indeed be too much of a good thing. Continue reading

Learning Grows: The Science of Motivation for the Classroom Teacher

Andrew C. Watson, the editor of Learning and the Brain Blog, long-time teacher at some of the country’s most prestigious schools, and consultant to educators around the world, recently released his second book in the Learning Brain series. While the

Design Thinking: How Does It Work In The Classroom?

A careful study of design thinking finds modest successes — especially for students who have struggled in school. Continue reading

“But I Study Much Better With My Music On”

Yet another study shows that background music — especially music with lyrics — makes reading comprehension harder, not easier. We study best in silence. Continue reading

Overcoming Potential Perils of Online Learning

Typical at-home distractions can indeed interfere with online learning. Happily, researchers have suggestions on how best to mitigate these problems. Continue reading

“How You Got to Be So Smart”: The Evolution of our Brains

Evolution of the Learning Brain: or How You Got to Be So Smart, by Paul Howard-Jones, offers an evolutionary history of learning itself. Both richly scientific and fun to read, it gives teachers a helpful, fresh perspective on our work in classrooms and schools. Continue reading

Why Do “Learning Styles” Theories Persist? [Updated 6-7-19]

We’re still trying to understand why learning styles theory — although widely debunked — still persists. Could it be because schools of education still support it? Continue reading

Handshakes at the Door: Hype, or Helpful?

It’s not just cute videos! Research also shows that greeting individual students at the classroom door leads to higher levels of attention and fewer classroom disruptions. Continue reading