Yearly Archives: 2020

Seriously: What Motivates Teachers to Be Funny?

To start 2021 in the right spirit, let’s think about humor in the classroom. It seems that, obviously, humor might be a good classroom strategy. When the lesson slows down, a joke or two might brighten the mood. Once we



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The Best Teaching Advice We’ve Got

You want to improve your teaching with psychology research? We’ve got good news, and bad news. And more good news. Good News: we have lots and LOTS of research. We can talk about attention, or working memory, or the spacing



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James Flynn Changed the Way We Think about Intelligence

In 1950, the average score on an IQ test was ~100. In 2020, the average score on an IQ test was ~100. Nothing, it seems, had changed. Those facts, however, disguise a surprising truth. IQ tests are based on scaled scores.



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December Book-a-Palooza

When I started in this field, back in 2008, teachers really didn’t have many helpful books to draw on. Books about teaching? Sure. Books about psychology and neuroscience research? Absolutely. Books bringing those topics together? Not so much… What a



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How Learning Happens: Seminal Works in Educational Psychology and What They Mean in Practice by Paul Kirschner and Carl Hendrick

Bridging the research-practice divide is a perennial issue in education. Fortunately, Paul A. Kirschner and Carl Hendrick’s book— How Learning Happens: Seminal Works in Educational Psychology and What They Mean in Practice — helps address this issue by presenting time-tested,



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Possible Selves in STEM: Helping Students See Themselves as Scientists

Why don’t more students sign up for STEM classes, and enter STEM careers? Could we increase the number, and the diversity within that group? Researchers in California came up with a simple strategy: one that offered powerful results. Here’s the



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Two New Ways of Thinking About Memory

In our classroom work, we teachers focus on learning; in their research, psychologists and neuroscientists often focus on memory. We have, in other words, different frameworks for talking about the same topic. When I find one review article that provides TWO fresh ways



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Gratitude in School, 2020 Edition

Here’s a pre-Thanksgiving question: How much good news can you pack into one psychology study? Lots of psychology research focuses on human difficulties: Why is it hard to learn and develop? Why do people struggle to connect? What happens when



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Parachutes Don’t Help (Important Asterisk)

A surprising research finding to start your week: parachutes don’t reduce injury or death. How do we know? Researchers asked participants to jump from planes (or helicopters), and then measured their injuries once they got to the ground. (To be



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The Source of Student Motivation: Deeper than We Know?

Usually I blog about specific research findings that inform education. Today — to mix things up — I thought it would be helpful to talk about an under-discussed theory pertinent to education. This theory helps us at least two ways:



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