Tag Archives: performance

I recently shared a fascinating conversation with Ned Johnson, co-author of The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives. We were recording the Tests and the Rest episode on Creating a Homeschool Plan During a Crisis (highly recommended) when he started talking about nuts. Actually, he was talking about response to stress, which then led to a discourse on nuts–and not even in the context of allergies. This isn’t as weird as it sounds, though, assuming you are familiar with the groundbreaking work of Sonia Lupien. Dr. Sonia Lupien, the current Canada Research Chair on Human Stress, is the founder and director of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress. Her research into the effects of stress on the human brain have uncovered some interesting insights, including that of the relativity of stress. In a nutshell–pardon the pun–what I find exciting (world…

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No matter how much or well you practice, your score comes down to how well you perform when it counts. While we rightly focus on what happens on test day, we’d be remiss if we ignored that all-important night before test day. You cannot guarantee a given score but you can guarantee that you arrive relaxed, confident, and prepared to earn that score by following these three steps: Pack everything you’ll need the night before. Don’t wait until you wake up to get your essential gear together. If you’ll need to present ID and an admissions ticket, make sure you locate them before you turn in for the night. Also assemble a comfortable wardrobe with layers in case your testing environment is too warm or too cold. Pack performance snacks, water, and tissues. Also make sure that any calculator you bring is fully charged. Directions to an unfamiliar test center…

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Gum chewing’s fine every once in a while. It freshens your breath and brightens your smile. But the Oompa Loompas at Willy Wonka’s factory would have you thinking it was all downhill from there when, in fact, even a blueberry of a daughter may be chewing her way to an advantage over her non-chewing peers. A variety of studies have uncovered ways in which the act of chewing gum increases energy, focuses attention, improves performance, and reduces stress, all of which are keys to success on test day. Consider the facts: ENERGY Scientists at Coventry University found that subjects chewing mint gum felt less sleepy than those not chewing gum or practicing chewing without the gum (which sounds tiring). The Pupillographic Sleepiness Test (PST) confirmed that gum chewers were less sleepy than other subjects. The researchers could not, however, determine whether the reduction in daytime sleepiness resulted from heightened cerebral…

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Many see the highest calling of human existence to be the search for some external truth. Others, however, move the locus of control and value to our innermost selves. Viktor E. Frankl, celebrated optimist and Holocaust survivor, summarized this position well in his influential book, Man’s Search for Meaning: Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual. Where, then, do we find answers to life’s problems–or at least the means to confront and prevail over them? Whether we’re dealing with existential threats or more common challenges at school, work, or play, we should start looking in the place we know (or should know) best: ourselves. Sense-of-self can be described simply as our self-image, our assessment of our personal abilities, appearance, and personality. Sense-of-self encapsulates what we perceive as our strengths and weaknesses,…

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Have you ever planned for one thing to happen only to find that your efforts encouraged the exact opposite of what you wanted? The law of unintended consequences (which isn’t technically a law at all) asserts that our actions always have effects that we don’t or can’t anticipate. Sometimes, we get lucky and those consequences are positive; other times, we get cobras… Cobras were apparently a serious problem in Dehli, India under British rule. The colonial government, in an effort to cull the population, offered a bounty for every dead cobra. While this initially led to a lot of dead snakes, some entrepreneurial types realized that cobras were easier to breed than trap. All of a sudden, India was home to a bunch of cobra farms. When this disastrous unintended consequence came to light, the government canceled the bounty. Unfortunately, once those cobra farms became unprofitable, their venomous stock was…

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Too many students think that academic success depends entirely on innate intelligence, that only the smartest can strive for the highest scores and grades. However, most teachers would tell a dramatically different story: you earn grades based not on what you are but what you do. A popular image of 10 Things That Require Zero Talent has been making the rounds online for years. This idea resonates with anyone who struggled under the misconception that achievement depended on entirely innate abilities. On the contrary, success results from doing lots of little things in the right way at the right time. For this reason, students who struggle in school may not be dealing with an inability to understand a subject. Most poor performance results from a lack of accountability. In order to succeed, students need to maintain accountability to themselves, their teachers, and their support systems. What does academic accountability look…

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