Tag Archives: learning

“You can only climb as hard as you rest.” Jared Leto shared that kernel of rock climbing wisdom to explain his prodigious productivity. Even a moment’s thought assures us that this concept makes perfect sense. Now consider the average high school student, so buried under so many academic, extracurricular, and social commitments that he can’t even get a good night’s sleep. This avalanche of activities might seem like the only path to success, but overwork all too often impedes real achievement. Not only do people, particularly teens, require lots of sleep for optimal performance, but even breaks make a difference. Margaret L. Schlichting and Alison R. Preston of The University of Texas at Austin found that reflection boosts learning. Their research subjects who used time between learning tasks to reflect on what they had learned previously scored better on tests pertaining to what they learned later, especially where small threads…

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Assessment-oriented instruction, as I like to call test prep when I’m feeling particularly bombastic, usually follows utilitarian principles. Basically, if something works, keep doing it. Thanks to rich quantitative feedback loops, we can track in real time what allows either an individual student or an entire cohort to more quickly and accurately solve different types of problems. Couple the emphatic pragmatism of test prep with the fact that many practitioners have backgrounds in fields far outside of education and it’s no wonder that theoretical frameworks are rarely primary considerations in tutoring sessions. Nonetheless, educational professionals can learn a lot from educational theory and models, which is why I recently asked expert Erik Francis of Maverik Education to teach a group of test prep teachers about Depth of Knowledge levels.  As far as theoretical educational frameworks go, Depth of Knowledge certainly sounds rigorous. Cooked up by Dr. Norman Webb in 1997 to…

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The research is clear: many students learn better in groups. Students who learn in small groups generally demonstrate greater academic achievement, express more favorable attitudes toward learning, and persist through challenging courses or programs to a greater extent than their more traditionally taught counterparts. Why is this such a surprise? According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, nearly 70 percent of us are considered Extraverted, which means we are energized by interaction with others. Yet, learning is typically structured as a quiet, individual activity. That paradigm serves some students, but so many others need a social component to learn best. Cooperative learning, in which students work with peers in small learning groups to master academic material, consistently produces increased student achievement. According to researcher Robert Slavin, study groups are most effective when students are evaluated both on group goals and individual accountability. Group goals serve to motivate students to help each…

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“Exercise in repeatedly recalling a thing strengthens the memory.”   Do you despise testing? Perhaps you’d feel more open to the tremendous value of testing if you knew that one of humanity’s great philosophers and scientists fully endorsed the practice. Aristole saw the connection between repeatedly recalling a thing (testing) and remembering a thing (learning). The testing effect, as it is called, powers academic performance in a way that mere reading never can. All those students who adopt reading and rereading texts as their primary study strategy miss out on the educational impact of active recall of targeted information. Psychologists Henry L. Roediger III and Jeffrey D. Karpicke contributed much to our understanding of the testing effect in their review of a century of research into learning. They also conducted their own insightful research into the subject. Considering that the title of their findings was Test-Enhanced Learning: Taking Memory Tests…

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Imagine two students in a classroom in Any High School, USA. One struggles to concentrate on what the teacher is saying, but finds himself daydreaming instead. Mind ablaze with different ideas, some only tangentially related to the subject at hand, he texts a note about how boring the teacher is to his best friend. She, however, is so busy taking notes, engaged in what she considers a brilliant lecture, that she doesn’t even notice the text. What accounts for the discrepancies in the ways different students experience and understand the same lessons, teachers, and subjects? Basically, we all have inherent preferences in how we learn best, from when to where to with (and from) whom. Find out what those preferences are and how they apply to you!   This online seminar is part of our July Seminar Series. The fee is $25 for this program or $99 for as many…

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Aeschylus, the renowned playwright of ancient Greece, is remembered as the father of tragedy. His works often visited themes such as disaster, downfall, and divine justice, which provided ample opportunity to connect suffering to learning: “Suffering brings experience.” “Wisdom comes through suffering.” “The reward of suffering is experience.” “Only through suffering do we learn.” “Nothing forces us to know what we do not want to know except pain.” Aeschylus was not the only philosopher to opine about how excruciating experience and knowledge can be to come by: “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” — Confucius “Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson “Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.” — Marian Wright Edelman…

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