Why Don’t My High-School Students Just Follow My Advice?

I’ve been teaching for several centuries now. You’d think my students would believe me when I tell them how to make their sentences better. Or how to interpret literary passages. Or how to succeed in life. Why don’t they? Recent



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Let’s Get Practical: What Works Best in the Classroom?

At times, this blog explores big-picture hypotheticals — the “what if” questions that can inspire researchers and teachers. And, at times, we just want practical information. Teachers are busy folks. We simply want to know: what works? What really helps my



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How Can We Help Students Study Better? [Repost]

This story might sound familiar: You attend a Learning and the Brain conference (like, say, our upcoming conference about Teaching During a Pandemic) and come away with FANTASTIC ideas. You go back to your classrooms — in person, online, asynchronous



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“Rich” or “Bland”: Which Diagrams Helps Students Learn Deeply? [Reposted]

Colorful diagrams might raise students’ interest. What do those diagrams do for their learning? Continue reading



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How to Foster New Friendships in School? Seating Plans! (We’ve Got Research…)

In schools, we want students to learn many topics: math, and history, and reading, and health, and robotics… And, especially at the beginning of the year, we’d like them to make friends along the way. Can we help? One research



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To Grade or Not to Grade: Should Retrieval Practice Quizzes Be Scored? [Repost]

We’ve seen enough research on retrieval practice to know: it rocks. When students simply review material (review their notes; reread the chapter), that mental work doesn’t help them learn. However, when they try to remember (quiz themselves, use flashcards), this kind



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Parachutes Don’t Help (Important Asterisk) [Repost]

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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Making “Learning Objectives” Explicit: A Skeptic Converted? [Reposted]

Teachers have long gotten guidance that we should make our learning objectives explicit to our students. The formula goes something like this: “By the end of the lesson, you will be able to [know and do these several things].” I’ve



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“Once Upon a Time”: Do Stories Help Learning?

When Daniel Willingham wrote Why Don’t Students Like School, he accomplished a mini-miracle: he made abstract psychology research… …easy to understand, and … obviously helpful to classroom teachers. Its invaluable pages include emphatically practical teaching advice: “memory is the residue of



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Conflicting Advice: What to Do When Cognitive Science Strategies Clash?

Teachers like research-informed guidance because it offers a measure of certainty. “Why do you run your classes that way?” “Because RESEARCH SAYS SO!” Alas, we occasionally find that research encourages AND DISCOURAGES the same strategy simultaneously. What to do when



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