Monthly Archives: May 2018

The Neuroscience of Intelligence: “Slim” Neural Networks

Although “more” often seems better, brains can benefit from “less.” Recent research suggests that higher levels of intelligence result from more efficient networks. These slim neural networks result in better processing. Continue reading



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No Grades? Doug Lemov Just Isn’t Having It…

Although many experts argue that schools should have no grades, Doug Lemov strongly disagrees. His claim that the end of grades would preclude meritocracy has prompted a lively debate. Continue reading



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Should Mothers Help Children With Homework?

According to a new study in Finland, a mother’s homework help might reduce her child’s feelings of autonomy and competence. For this reason, even well-intentioned help might reduce a child’s motivation–at least in 2nd and 3rd grades. Continue reading



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You, Your Child, and School: Navigating Your Way to the Best Education by Sir Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica

Sir Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica previously argued in their 2015 book Creative Schools (reviewed here) that we should pursue individualized and holistic learning.  The duo have now written a sequel of sorts, for parents of school age children. In You,



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Crucial in the Classroom: Distinguishing between Experts & Novices

Novices & experts think differently. Teachers should not treat novices like experts, but should help them become experts. To do so, we need to think realistically about the limits of novice cognition. Continue reading



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Let’s Get Practical: More Flashcards Are Better

What flashcard strategies yield the most learning? Research suggests that relatively large flashcard piles spreads repetitions out, and therefore helps students learn better than relatively small piles. Because students prefer small to large, teachers should offer them consistent — and firm — guidance. Continue reading



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Concerned about Concussions: Athletes and Actors

Teachers have often worried about athletes and concussions. New research suggests we should worry about actors and concussions as well. Two-thirds of professional actors suffer concussions, and 30% experience five or more. Those numbers encourage us to keep our eyes on student actors and techies. Continue reading



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When You Want Higher Brain Entropy, Add Caffeine

Taking caffeine increases your level of “brain entropy,” a measurement of the “different neural states that a brain can access.” High brain entropy just might be good…and so it might also be good for caffeine to raise it. Clearly, the relationship between caffeine and cognition is complicated. Continue reading



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3rd Graders Beware! The Perils of Mindfulness Research

Despite suggestive research about its benefits, teachers should know the perils of mindfulness research. In this study, for example, yoga might have helped 3rd graders improve their emotional quality of life…but the study lacks an active control group. We can hope that the mindfulness helped, but we can’t be sure. Continue reading



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Solving the Nap Research Problem (BTW: Naps Help!)

New research from China shows that daytime naps improve several cognitive functions — like sustained attention. Just as important, those naps don’t make it harder to sleep at night. In fact: frequent nappers sleep better than non-nappers. So, grab a pillow! Continue reading



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