Category Archives: L&B Blog

The Best Teaching Advice We’ve Got

I’m on my annual vacation during this month, so I’ll be posting some articles that got attention during the last year. This post, initially from December of 2021, looks at a proposed different way to “put all the research pieces

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It’s All in the Timing: Improving Study Skills with Just-Right Reminders

Some research-based teaching advice requires complex rethinking of our work. For instance: We know that “desirable difficulties” like spacing and interleaving help students learn. At the same time, this strategy might require a fair amount of reorganization in our unit plans.

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An Amazingly Simple Way to Help Struggling Students (with Potential Controversy)

Imagine that you work at a school where these students consistently struggle compared to those students. As teachers and school leaders, you’d like to help these students do better than they currently do; maybe do as well as those students. (Lower down in the post,

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“It’s Good for the Brain!”: The Perils of Pollution, the Benefits of Blueberries

When I talk with teachers about psychology and neuroscience research, I frequently get a question in this shape: “I’ve heard that X is really good for the brain. Is that really true?” In this sentence, X might be blueberries. It might

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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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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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