Category Archives: L&B Blog

Is “Cell Phone Addiction” Really a Thing?

I recently read a tweet asserting “the fact that cell phones are proven to be as addictive as drugs.” Of course, people casually use the word “addictive” about all sorts of things: chocolate, massages, pumpkin-spice lattes. (No doubt somewhere Twitter

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The Best Way to Take Class Notes

Teachers often ask me: “how should my students take notes?” That question typically springs from a heated debate. Despite all the enthusiasm for academic technology, many teachers insist on hand-written notes. (Long-time readers know: I have a provocative opinion on

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What is “Mind, Brain, Education”? Defining the Undefinable…

Here at Learning and the Brain, we bring together psychology (the study of the MIND), neuroscience (the study of the BRAIN), and pedagogy (the study of EDUCATION). That is: we bring together THREE complex fields, and try to make sense

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Changing the System: Where Do We Start?

I recently spent two hours talking with a group of splendid teachers from Singapore about Mindset Theory. We talked about “charging” and “retreating.” We discussed “performance goals” and “learning goals.” Of course, “precise praise” merited lots of attention. At the

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Understanding Adolescents: Emotion, Reason, and the Brain

Kurt Fischer — who helped create Learning and the Brain, and the entire field of Mind, Brain, and Education — used to say: “when it comes to the brain, we’re all still in kindergarten.” He meant: the brain is so

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Let’s Get Practical: Signaling a Growth Mindset

Most teachers know about Mindset Theory: the idea that students’ beliefs about intelligence shape their success in learning. Specifically: If I think that intelligence (whatever that is) can’t change, I learn less. If I think that intelligence can change, I learn more. Once

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How Do Experts Think?

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying: “To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” It means, more or less, we see what we’re trained to see. If I bring a problem to a plumber, she’ll think about it like a plumbing problem.

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Teachers’ Gestures Can Help Students Learn

Over the years, I’ve written about the importance of “embodied cognition.” In other words: we know with our brains, and we know with and through our bodies. Scholars such as Dr. Susan Goldin-Meadow and Dr. Sian Beilock have done splendid and

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Handwriting Improves Learning, Right?

Here’s a good rule for research: if you believe something, look for research that contradicts your belief. So, if you think that retrieval practice helps students learn, see if you can find research showing the opposite. If you disapprove of

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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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