Learning & Brain Research

Interesting review of a book and recent brain research in a post on Mind/Shift. Some of the points are not new, but some are. This quote opens the article;

“most of our instincts about learning are misplaced, incomplete, or flat wrong” and “rooted more in superstition than in science.”


Asking Questions

This post on Edutopia talks about the importance of questions in learning. This is so true – even in academic writing (IMHO). As a Principal I often talked to teachers about this skill – for themselves and for students. Questions drive learning. An excerpt.

Lessons, units, and topics are more motivating when they begin with a question whose answer students want to know. Not only do great questions generate interest, they also answer the question that so many students wonder about: “Why do I have to learn this?” Finally, great questions increase cognitive organization of the content by framing it into a meaningful answer to the opening question.

Taking Responsibility

This excerpt is from a post by Stephen Ransom in response to an article about research that found hand written note taking is more successful than ones taken on computers. The excerpt is an important sentiment about debates surrounding modern technology. The bold emphasis is mine.

We have given far too much power to the technology and given up some of our responsibility in shaping it and shaping our world. There’s no doubt, that as John Culkin and Marshall McLuhan framed, “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us”. However, at no point in this statement were we intended to give up our responsibility in shaping our society and our world.

Important Outcomes of Science Classes

(Once again, I have been neglecting this space).

This is the opening lines from the article in Slate cited below. Science is an attitude:

If I could ensure that kids come away from science class with one thing only, it wouldn’t be a set of facts. It would be an attitude—something that the late physicist Richard Feynman called “scientific integrity,” the willingness to bend over backward to examine reasons your pet theories about the world might be wrong.

From the article Surprise! The most important skill in science or self-improvement is noticing the unexpected. in Slate.