Tag Archives: classroom advice

College Students Sitting in Hallway

How Students (Think They) Learn: The Plusses and Minuses of “Interleaving”

As the school year begins, teachers want to know: can mind/brain research give us strategies to foster learning? We might also wonder: what will our students think of those strategies? It seems plausible — even likely — that students will



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The Best Book on Cognitive Load Theory: Ollie Lovell to the Rescue

Teaching ought to be easy. After all, we have a functionally infinite amount of long-term memory. You don’t have to forget one thing to learn another thing — really. So: I should be able to shovel information and skills into



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Do Classroom Decorations Distract Students? A Story in 4 Parts… [Reposted]

As we prepare for the upcoming school year, how should we think about decorating our classrooms? Can research give us any pointers? This story, initially posted in March of 2022, paints a helpfully rich research picture. Teacher training programs often



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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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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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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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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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Working Memory: Make it Bigger, or Use it Better?

Cognitive science has LOTS of good news for teachers. Can we help students remember ideas and skills better? Yes, we can! (Check out retrieval practice and other desirable difficulties). Can we promote students’ attention? Yes, we can! (Posner and Rothbart’s



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Do Classroom Decorations Distract Students? A Story in 4 Parts…

Teacher training programs often encourage us to brighten our classrooms with lively, colorful, personal, and uplifting stuff: Inspirational posters. Students’ art work. Anchor charts. Word walls. You know the look. We certainly hope that these decorations invite our students in



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