Tag Archives: classroom advice

Don’t Just Do This Thing; Think This Way

Do hard-to-read fonts improve learning? The answer is: that’s the wrong question. Instead, we should ask: how can we set the right level of difficulty as students learn material? And: are hard-to-read fonts a useful tool in getting to that level. Only the classroom teacher can answer those questions. Continue reading



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Just Not a Useful Debate: Learning Styles Theory [Updated]

At one of the first Learning and the Brain conferences I attended, a speaker briefly mentioned that learning styles theory doesn’t have much good evidence to support it. That comment turned into a heated debate. Several attendees asked vexed, unhappy



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Putting Research to Work in the Classroom: Success?

Some study habits have been shown to work in psychology labs. Do they work in college classrooms? A recent study shows that “retrieval practice” clearly helps students learn. The findings on “the spacing effect” are harder to interpret… Continue reading



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The Best Way to Take Notes: More Feisty Debate

When teachers contemplate asking students to take longhand notes, we should think about the level of desirable difficulty this strategy creates. We should also beware the working memory challenges inherent in note-taking, especially on complex material. Continue reading



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The Great Homework Debate: Working Memory Disadvantage?

New research into working memory might give teachers fresh perspective in the great homework debate. Well-designed homework might make new words and concepts easier to learn, because the right kind of practice can reduce differences between high- and low-working-memory students. Continue reading



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Pro Tips: How To Think Like A Cognitive Scientist

A short, “intensive” college course might seem like a good idea. However, essential cognitive science principles suggest that students will learn less in them. Researchers consistently show that it’s better to spread learning out over time, and that easy learning doesn’t last. Continue reading



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No Grades? Doug Lemov Just Isn’t Having It…

Although many experts argue that schools should have no grades, Doug Lemov strongly disagrees. His claim that the end of grades would preclude meritocracy has prompted a lively debate. Continue reading



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Let’s Get Practical: More Flashcards Are Better

What flashcard strategies yield the most learning? Research suggests that relatively large flashcard piles spreads repetitions out, and therefore helps students learn better than relatively small piles. Because students prefer small to large, teachers should offer them consistent — and firm — guidance. Continue reading



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Brains in the Classroom: Research-based Advice for Students

Rather than nag students by telling them to give up their bad study habits, we might instead help them use their current study strategies more effectively. This new study shows students how best to reread, underline, take notes, and use flash cards. Continue reading



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Daring to Flip the Public Health Classroom

“Flipping the classroom” has been around long enough now to have its own Wikipedia page. Proponents suggest that this strategy allows teachers to focus less on direct instruction and more on collaboration, problem solving, and application. Critics respond that direct



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