Yearly Archives: 2022

Getting the Order Just Right: When to “Generate,” When to “Retrieve”?

When teachers get advice from psychology and neuroscience, we start by getting individual bits of guidance. For instance… … mindful meditation reduces stress, or … growth mindset strategies (done the right way) can produce modest benefits, or … cell phones



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The Bruce Willis Method: Catching Up Post-Covid

In the third Die Hard movie, Brue Willis and his unexpected partner Samuel L. Jackson need to get to Wall Street a hurry. They commandeer a cab. An experienced cab driver, Jackson suggests taking 9th Avenue south, but Willis insists on



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Does a Teacher’s Enthusiasm Improve Learning?

Sometimes research confirms our prior beliefs. Sometimes it contradicts those beliefs. And sometimes, research adds nuance and insight to overly-broad generalizations. Here’s the story: Benefits of Enthusiasm It seems too obvious to say that a teacher’s enthusiasm benefits learning. OF COURSE



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When Analogies Go Wrong: The Benefits of Stress?

An amazing discovery becomes an inspiring analogy: Researchers at BioSphere 2 noticed a bizarre series of events: their trees kept collapsing under their own weight. Why on earth would trees collapse? It doesn’t happen outside the BioSphere; so why would



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Failure to Disrupt by Justin Reich

Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education is a well-written critical synthesis of overzealous claims and unrealistic attempts to revolutionize education through technology. Its author, Justin Reich, is an Assistant Professor in the Comparative Media Studies department at



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Handwritten Notes or Laptop Notes: A Skeptic Converted?

Here’s a practical question: should our students take notes by hand, or on laptops? If we were confident that one strategy or the other produced more learning – factual learning, conceptual learning, ENDURING learning – then we could give our



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Too Good to Be True? “Even Short Nature Walks Improve Cognition”?

Good news makes me nervous. More precisely: if I want to believe a research finding, I become very suspicious of it. After all: it’s easy to fool me when I want to be fooled. Specifically: I’m an outdoors guy. I’ve worked at



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Working Memory: Make it Bigger, or Use it Better?

Cognitive science has LOTS of good news for teachers. Can we help students remember ideas and skills better? Yes, we can! (Check out retrieval practice and other desirable difficulties). Can we promote students’ attention? Yes, we can! (Posner and Rothbart’s



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Learning How to Learn: Do Video Games Help?

Long-time readers know: I like research that surprises me. If a study confirms a belief I already have, I’m glad for that reinforcement. However, I have more to learn when a study challenges my beliefs. As you’ll see below, I’m



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The Art of Insubordination by Todd Kashdan

The Art of Insubordination: How to Dissent and Defy Effectively, a provocative title in a time of incredible social turmoil. One may think Todd B. Kashdan focuses on defying a system that is oppressive and conformist; the title brings to



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