I am on a mission to help more educators become extraordinary this year. In this article, you will get an insight into how our brain works. Stay a learner for a moment and we can help you achieve the best professional year of your life.
Today, we will lock down one of the most core understandings about the human brain: how to get it to change. Let’s learn how to do this right. The reason you may care about this is because… (more…)
The true story of the most dangerous “moat” threat in 800 years
Eric Jensen here.
As you know, I did my dissertation on poverty and have become quite interested in the economics of poverty.
I am writing you because I see a threat to your lifestyle and if our roles were reversed, I would like you to tell me about it.
This letter may be a bit uncomfortable to read. If it is, just put it down or delete it. But I will tell you that everything in this is true.
This does not mean there are no alternative narratives about this problem. Yes, there are other, more optimistic scenarios. But I think (and many others much smarter than me) I might (unfortunately) be right about this one. (more…)
The word “explicit” means overt, obvious, known and spoken. Implicit means implied, insinuated, tacit and not said. Our biases have been known to show up in our classrooms in study after study. Surprisingly, most teachers claim they are NOT biased. This month, you’ll see how to recognize your biases and why you should alter them. You will get a critical insight and strategy for high-performance teaching. Stay a learner and you can turn this into the best year of your professional life. Let’s start with an awesome process for success. (more…)
In a recent study, the mean reading comprehension score of low-income adolescents who engaged in 12 minutes of (doing what?) was higher than the mean reading comprehension score of low-income adolescents in the control group. Not a little bit higher, but MUCH higher!
The most amazing part of this intervention was that it was easily replicated, verifiable and very low cost. What was it? (more…)
If you’re like me, you have memories of sharing content with your class of students, and many of them just looking at you and staring. Nothing’s happening.
You’re not sure if they even care what you are saying. OK, let’s say you did use “buy-in” strategies, so that area was addressed. Maybe you see that they just aren’t connecting to the content. Believe me, this has happened to the best of us.
There is a simple tool you can use to ensure this never, ever happens to you again. (more…)
I’d like to introduce a critical topic: how to get students to care about the content you have to offer.
Why should YOU care about this? I think I can save you a TON of time this year.
Here’s how: (more…)
So many teachers want the quick strategies they can use the very next day. Unfortunately, many of those are just more of the same. Sometimes what makes a strategy work (or not work) is HOW the teacher “sets up” the activity. Other times it works because of the timing or the environmental factors.
In short, it not about just the strategy. But for a moment, let’s say, you’ve already taken one of my amazing multi-day brain-based courses. The following might be good for a quick reminder:
1. The saying “too much, too fast,” means we won’t integrate and recall the information if you teach is quickly. Instead, chunk down the learning into small chunks; allow processing and settling time with partners or as reflective journal time.
2. Because every brain is different—genes + experience, plus the interplay between the two, recall the importance of honoring uniqueness, respecting differences. That means use huge variety to maximize learning. Use visual, with illustrations, and podcasts and DVDs. Then use movement with drama, hands on and energizers. Also use plenty of call-response with partner dialogs.
3. Most subjects can be learned under moderate stress; think of it as “healthy concern.” To ramp that up, use constant accountability. After every learning chunk, have kids create a quiz question, stand up, quiz their neighbor or create a short quiz of 10 questions. Use teams, peer pressure and deadlines to add concern. Remember the material better with an emotion embedded with it. After the quiz, celebrate the progress.
4. Thinking about thinking builds learning skills as active processing time. Add the process of journaling, discussion and learning logs valuable for better learning. Give students starter sentences such as “What I was curious (or stressed over) about today was”… Or, “What I learned today was… and, the way I learned it best was when I.” Until patterns emerge, learning is often random and messy, following no clear path over time, the patterns become more obvious. Pattern making is more complex in second languages like math and music.
5. Remember the value in non-learning or “settling” time, to consolidate the content. Take breaks, recess, lunch, relax time, walks, for passive processing. Even a quick energizer that’s fun and playful can be a good break.
6. Our brain can memorize, but our best learning is the trial & error learning; it’s a key to complex learning–there’s value in games done well, so use games, computers, competition, building, initiatives, etc. Games like hopscotch, relays, or just let kids quiz each other. Brains rarely get it right the first time—learning complexity is built over time Using checklists, peer teaching, computers, asking Qs, are all examples of using trial and error.
Below you’ll find seven changes you can make to save your life or extend it! You may be concerned about the “big two” killers of cancer and Alzheimer’s. We’ll focus on cancer and the our next post will be (again) on Alzheimer’s.
By the way, every year these suggestions get so many rave reviews that they are re-sent, forwarded and “re-gifted.” Feel free to do so this year, as well.
The first change will reduce your risk of cancer. A recent study shows that… (more…)
Over the years, student behaviors which do or don’t contribute to success (habits, effort, attitude, etc.) have been called many things. Some refer to these attributes as their personality or even character. But what really drives success?
There’s one skill that’s absolutely critical for both students and, yes, staff, too. This research may surprise you because it deals with one of your brain’s “automated” systems. The number one school success survival skill is… (more…)
You might be like many who organize professional development. You are experienced, thoughtful and very, very busy.
So what is the “Rule of Thirds?”It’s the biggest little secret in education. There are three BIG thirds in professional development (PD).
The first third of the three comes from the circumstances of the actual professional development day. I am shocked at how often someone asks me to fly 5,000 miles to his or her school and yet there’s a terrible microphone, poor seating and abominable lighting. Some “providers” ensure there are plenty of donuts, as if that would optimize staff learning. Others give me a screen 6′ x 6′ for 500 people. That’s like watching a movie in your living room on an iPod. Instead get a 10 x 10′ screen!
Over the years, I have been asked to speak in a movie theater, a bar, a library, a lunchroom and, even a racetrack. A cheap or free venue is NOT a bargain if the staff has a bad day. Now you should know that I am good at working miracles with whatever someone gives me, but why take risks if you don’t have to?
The first third of the three parts is: optimize learning conditions!
The second third of the value in professional development comes from having a relevant, high quality, and very engaging presenter. That’s right: 33% of the value from any professional development that comes from the caliber of presenter. By the way, those who hire me say that I consistently get “rave” reviews. I will always do my best to be the best you can get.
The third of three thirds comes from the follow up. Every teacher needs to have weekly or monthly “check-ins” that jump-start the changes. Teachers are busy and sometimes stressed. In fact, they are so busy, that you practically have to “get in their face” to get them to do something out of the ordinary. Without adequate follow up, you are getting only one third of the potential value.
Follow up should be 1) book study 2) professional learning communities 3) weekly emails 4) teachers blogging about the strategies they use 5) short weekly staff meetings with quick sharing and celebrations.
Without those three BIG qualities, you have little chance. But now that you know better, see what you can do to make it happen.