A chess board seen from an angle, with red arrows showing how pieces might move in different combinations

Should Teachers Explain or Demonstrate?

If I were a chess teacher, I would want my newbies to understand … … how a bishop moves, … how castling works, … what checkmate means. To help them understand, I could… … show them (“see how this piece

Book Cover for Adam Boxer's Teaching Secondary Science: A copmlete guide.

Book Review: Teaching Secondary Science, by Adam Boxer

Let’s start by making this simple: First: You should absolutely buy Adam Boxer’s Teaching Secondary Science: A Complete Guide. Sooner is better than later. Second: You will probably not READ Boxer’s book so much as you will STUDY it. Have a

Outsmart Your Brain by Daniel Willingham

Aligning with my work in this area, Daniel Willingham’s influential insights have greatly contributed to the field of neuroscience and education. His critique of learning styles and debunking of common learning myths and neuromyths have been pivotal. His critique of

Outline drawing of female student drawing

The Potential Benefits of Doodling and Chatting

This post will cover two topics simultaneously. First, I’m going to describe recent research into the benefits (?) of doodling. Second, I’m going to use a cool new artificial intelligence thingy to explore that research. I found both fascinating; perhaps

Headshot of Dr. Morgan Polikoff, smiling at the camera

Have I Been Spectacularly Wrong for Years? Part 1

Over the years, I’ve used this blog to make several persistent arguments. One of those arguments features in almost every post I write: context always matters. That is: research might suggest that a particular classroom strategy works well. However, teachers

Little boy blowing golf ball into hole.

Is Teaching Golf Like Teaching Algebra?

My work in this field starts with a simple logical argument: A: Learning happens in the brain and the mind. B: Therefore, teachers might benefit from knowing more about the brain and the mind. C: Therefore, we should hang out

Child wearing a bow tie and a happy expression standing in front of a chalkboard with a bar graph showing steady increases

“You Can Find Research that Proves Anything”

Sometimes teachers hear about research that SUPPORTS our current beliefs and teaching practice. Honestly, that experience feels great. “Look,” says my interval voice, “I’ve been doing it right all along.” And sometimes, we hear about research that CONTRADICTS our beliefs

Zero to Birth by William Harris

No two human brains are the same – but, the developmental process that leads to the adult brain is also remarkably similar between individuals and between species. It’s an impressive feat considering the number and variation in the potential connections

A conceptual image of a brain, falsely suggesting that the left hemisphere is computational and the right hemisphere is artistic

Read This Post with Your Right Brain First…

My Twitter feed is suddenly awash with one of those “how does your brain?” work tests. (I should say, “tests.”) If you look at the picture and see an angel, you’re right-brained. If you see a helicopter, you’re left-brained. This

Woman holding up mobile phono to take photo of speaker and slides

You Should Not (or Should) Let Your Students Take Pictures of Slides

Back in October, I wrote a blog post about a surprise: it turns out that students REMEMBER STUFF BETTER when they take photos of lecture slides. For several reasons — including common sense — I would have predicted the opposite.