The Debate Continues: Being Bilingual Doesn’t Improve Executive Function

Adding to a complex research history, a new study finds that being bilingual did not increase executive function. Given the complexity of this question, perhaps we should focus on the obvious benefits of being bilingual: we can meet and talk with more people. Continue reading

Factual Knowledge Must (Not?) Precede Higher Order Thinking

Scholars who focus on learning have long debated the importance of factual knowledge. Some (like Daniel Willingham) argue students need facts to undertake higher order synthesis and creativity. Others (like Jo Boaler) disagree. Recent retrieval practice research suggests that the primacy of facts might be overstated. But: it’s the first study of its kind, and we’ll need more information before we make big decisions. Continue reading

The Better Choice: Open- or Closed-Book Quizzes

As predicted by research into “retrieval practice,” closed-book quizzes do in fact help students learn better than open-book quizzes do. Once again, the right kind of difficulties can be desirable in school. Continue reading

The Limitations of Neuroscience in Guiding Teachers

Neuroscience offers fascinating insights into brains; psychology provides specific teaching suggestions. However much we enjoy and learn from the former, we should keep our eye on the latter. (Helpful links provided.) Continue reading

The Best (Counter-intuitive) Sleep Advice You’ll Get This Year

How to fall asleep faster? According to this research, take 5 minutes a write a to-do list for the upcoming days. This technique offloads stress, and promotes faster sleep onset. Continue reading

Studying Wrong Answers Helps Learn the Right Ones

With teaching as with baking, sometimes you should follow steps in a very particular order. If you don’t do this, and then that, and then the other, you don’t get the best results. Two researchers in Germany wanted to know if, and when,

How Can We Encourage Girls to Pursue STEM Disciplines?

When we see alarming statistics about gender disparities in STEM disciplines, we quite naturally wonder how to fix this imbalance. (This hope – by the way – isn’t simply a do-goody desire to sing “It’s a Small World After All.”

PEERS® for Young Adults: Social Skills Training for Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Other Social Challenges by Elizabeth Laugeson

Young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) typically want social relationships but have trouble building them. Extensive social skills training research has been conducted with young children with ASD, but research about social skills training for young adults with ASD is scant.

Can We Boost Our Students’ Self-Control?

You have, no doubt, heard about this research before. Walter Mischel tested preschoolers on self-control. In the famous “marshmallow test,” they got either one marshmallow right now, or two if they waited for fifteen minutes. (I have to include an

A Handy Summary of Memory Definitions, for Teachers and Students

Here‘s a quick summary of information about memory: sensory memory, working memory, long-term memory, and (crucially!) forgetting. Author Steven Turner presents this brisk overview to combat “buzzword wasteland.” He fears the education-world habit of coming up with fancy new terms