Two baby goats, one brown and white, theo other black and white, frolicking in a field.

Category Archives: L&B Blog

Two baby goats, one brown and white, theo other black and white, frolicking in a field.

“Seductive Details” meet “Retrieval Practice”: A Match Made in Cognitive Heaven

Here’s a common problem: your job today is to teach a boring topic. (You don’t think it’s boring, but your students always complain…) What’s a teacher to do? One plausible strategy: You might enliven this topic in some entertaining way. You’ve

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Hispanic student wearing a blue shirt raising his hand to ask a question in class

Starting Class with “Prequestions”: Benefits, Problems, Solutions

We’ve known for many years now that retrieval practice works. That is: after we have introduced students to a topic, we might REVIEW it with them the next day. However, they’ll remember it better if we ask them to try to

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A graphic of two heads facing each other in conversation: one with a lightbulb inside, the other with a question mark.

The Trad/Prog Debate Gets Weird

Few debates rage hotter in education circles than that between educational progressives and educational traditionalists. (I’m emphasizing “educational” in these phrases, because they don’t necessarily align with political trad/prog divides. This blog doesn’t do politics.) One recent summary — relying

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Book Cover for The Hidden Lives of Learners by Graham Nuthall. The cover shows a mountain range in front of a blue and cloudy sky.

The Hidden Lives of Learners

Many times over the last several years, I’ve heard enthusiastic reviews of a seemingly-magical book called The Hidden Lives of Learners, by Graham Nuthall. Here’s the magic: Nuthall’s frankly astonishing research method. Working in New Zealand classrooms in the 1980s, he

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Photograph of the author, wearing a blue shirt, pink tie, and glasses, smiling at the camera

To 600, and Beyond…

WordPress informs me that this is the 601st article I’ve posted on this blog. That’s a few hundred thousand words since 2015 or so. I’ve been honored over the years to meet so many of you who read this blog,

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Man wearing Virtual Reality goggles, making gestures in the air

My Detective Adventure: “VR Will Transform Education”

A friend recently sent me a link to an article with a click-baity headline: something like “Virtual Reality Will Change Education Forever.” Her pithy comment: “This is obviously nonsense.” (It’s possible she used a spicier word that ‘nonsense.’) On the

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An image of a brain in a human head, with EEG waves in the background

How Teachers Can Use Neuroscience in Education

I recently saw two very different looks at neuroscience and learning, and I thought they made a useful pairing for this blog. Here goes…   Regular readers know that I’ve recently been exploring research into movement and learning. That is:

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Downside to Oxytocin

Warning: Misguided Neuroscience Ahead

I recently ran across a version* of this chart: As you can see, this chart lists several neurotransmitters and makes recommendations based on their purported roles. If you want to feel love, you should increase oxytocin. To do so, play

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African American student wearing a bow tie, hand to forehead, looking frustrated and disappointed

The Limitations of Retrieval Practice (Yes, You Read That Right)

Last week, I wrote that “upsides always have downsides.” That is: anything that teachers do to foster learning (in this way) might also hamper learning (in that way). We should always be looking for side effects. So, let me take

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Thumbs Up Thumbs Down

Upsides Always Have Downsides: “Side Effects” in Education Research

Here at Learning and the Brain, we believe that research can improve education. Specifically, research into psychology (“how the mind works”) and neuroscience (“how the brain works”) can help teachers and schools. After all, we spend all day working with

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