Tag Archives: classroom advice

Using and Misusing Averages: The Benefits of Music?

The “10 Minute Rule” tells us that people can’t pay attention to something for longer than ten minutes. As teachers, therefore, we shouldn’t do any one thing for longer than ten minutes. We need to mix it up a bit.



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Does Hands-On Learning Benefit Science Students?

In a recent study, hands-on learning and other inquiry strategies did not help 4th graders master science concepts. The reason? Working memory limitations. Continue reading



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Research on Note-Taking: A Teachable Skill

Over at the Cult of Pedagogy, Jennifer Gonzalez has a FANTASTIC post summarizing lots of research on note-taking. Some headlines: Note-taking is a skill we should teach. Visuals improve notes. Pauses for revision and reflection help a lot. I should



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What’s the Best Timing for Collaborative Learning?

Learning can be a lonely business. Does collaborative learning help students? If yes, what guidelines should teachers follow? Collaborative Learning: Benefits and Detriments Overall, we’ve got lots of research suggesting that collaboration helps students learn. And, happily, it doesn’t cost



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Improve Your Syllabus & Lesson Plan With “Prior Knowledge”

By explicitly including prior knowledge in our lesson plans, we can help students learn new material more effective. And, this effect might explain the syllabus-level benefits of spreading practice out over time: the “spacing effect.” Continue reading



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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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