Underwater picture of a young boy swimming directly toward the camera

Beware the Experts: The Danger of Popular Science Writing

Here’s a little expert advice on nutrition: Michael Phelps — the most decorated Olympic athelete in any sport ever — obviously had to take EXCELLENT care of his body. He thought A LOT about fitness and nutrition. While he was

Two students in conversation

Think, Pair, Share: Does It Help? If Yes, Why?

On some days, I find myself drawn to esoteric research studies. A few months ago, for example, I wrote about the effect of earworms on sleep. (Yes, scholars really do research earworms.) Today, I’ve found as straightforwardly practical a study

A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley

A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra) is an excellently constructed tour of the mind improving your approach to learning and problem-solving. While there are many learning strategy books out there,

Young girl looking intently into a museum display case

Cultural Field Trips: Do They Really Enhance SEL?

Here at Learning and the Brain, we like research-informed teaching suggestions. At the same time, we remember Prof. Dan Willingham’s timeless motto: “one study is just one study, folks.” That is: one study might show a particular conclusion – but

4 students sitting at a table discussing something visible on a laptop

Should We Teach Math and English the Same Way?

Because we teachers are a busy lot, we sometimes want simplicity and clarity: “I’m honestly too busy to sort through all the options and variables; just tell me what to do.“ In fact, when I went to my first Learning and

Young rowan tree seedling grow from old stump in a sunlit forest.

When Prior Knowledge Bites Back: The Dangers of Knowing Too Much

In this blog, we typically highlight the benefits of prior knowledge. For example: if a student knows a lot about baseball, she’ll be much more successful in understanding a reading passage about baseball. That same student could struggle mightily with

portrait of father teaching daughter how to read by using simple words and letters on a flash card at home

Practical Advice for Students: How to Make Good Flashcards

Flashcards feel to me like a research sweet-spot. In the first place: for the most part, students believe that they help — and are even willing to make them! In the second place: flashcards should help. After all, flashcards promote

Belonging by Geoffrey Cohen

Geoffrey Cohen, a professor of Psychology at Stanford University, explores the science of self and sense of belonging in work, school, politics, relationships, and society at large. He works from an intervention perspective attempting to understand not through observation alone

A neuron made up of walls of binary code: 0s and 1s.

ChatGPT and Beyond: The Best Online Resources for Evaluating Research Claims

If we’re going to make “research-based” claims about education — and we are! — then we better have the research goods. So, how can we at Learning and the Brain — and you as teachers and administrators — find and

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