Can Teachers Move Students Of Poverty To Middle Or Upper Class?


Drew Perkins talks with author Eric Jensen about his book, Poor Students, Rich Teaching: Mindsets for Change (Raising Achievement for Youth at Risk) and how he believes teachers can change their mindsets to help students of poverty move to the middle or upper class.

Exploding Common Myths in Education

brain based teaching strategy

Myth: Kids Talk Too Much At School

Do your students talk too much? Some teachers think kids talk TOO much at school, and they spend a portion of their day trying to “manage the noise”.

Actually, that’s false! It seems we are social before we are born and that some schools artificially suppress our social side. Researchers believe that brains may be hard-wired to be social (autism is an exception, of course). We know newborns come into the world wired to socially interact. But is this a propensity to socially oriented action already present before birth? Twin pregnancies provide a unique opportunity to investigate the social pre-wiring hypothesis.

A new study shows that by the 14th week of gestation twin fetuses do not only display movements directed towards the uterine wall and self-directed movements, but also movements specifically aimed at the co-twin, the proportion of which increases between the 14th and 18th gestational week. These inter-twin responses are not coincidental, the research shows. The intra-pair contact is the result of motor planning rather then the accidental outcome of bumping each other due to spatial proximity. By the 14th week of gestation twin fetuses clearly execute movements specifically aimed at purposeful (vs. random) interacting with the co-twin. This supports a large body of postnatal evidence for a relational bias. Read more

Tomorrow’s World In Education

Education challenges ahead

“There’s a big front coming in this weekend. Expect temperatures to drop to well below freezing. There will be icy and dangerous conditions. Winds will be near gale force. Please take all necessary cautions to protect life and property.”

Sometimes being right is just as bad as being wrong. Just ask any weatherman or weatherperson. Nobody likes to hear the messenger when the news is bad. It’s no different when the news is about our own lives.

Today, we take a look ahead. That’s always a bit dangerous. Today’s world has so many complex variables that any predictions beyond the next few weeks seem far too tenuous to “bank on.” Who would have predicted interest rates would fall to record lows in 2011? Few would have predicted the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, which set back the space program by years (and maybe put it out of business). The events following 9/11 changed many things in politics, economics and even tourism. The point here is simple; general timelines are easier to predict, high impact events are, well, unpredictable. We’ll have to exclude in this chapter those catastrophic events (sorry, even psychics get them wrong) and stick with the likely stream of events. Based on the trends so far, there are three possible trajectories. One is the nightmare, where all that can go bad, does. Another is the dream, where most important decisions and events are positive. And finally, there’s the most likely scenario of all. That I’ll leave to the end. Read more

Eric Jensen Shares His Thoughts On Motivation and Education

Eric Jensen was asked how to for his perspective on motivation in the classroom… his answer is found in the video below.

A Professional Development Webinar with Special Guest, Eric Jensen.

Scientific Learning Corporation invites you to a Professional Development webinar with special guest, Eric Jensen.

He will be discussing the “7 Discoveries From Brain Research That Could Revolutionize Education” and how these discoveries have “real world implication” for all educators. Join the session to learn how you can apply this research to succeed with your students in the classroom. This webinar will take place on Tuesday, September 28th at 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern time.

Please click HERE to register ASAP as space is limited. If you have any questions, please email

Are Learning Styles a Big Hoax? What Does the Latest Science Say About Different Learners?

MSc eLearning: Essay Wordle

Before we begin, I want to address a study that was published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, and on the mainstream news. It claimed that “brain-training” is not effective. Huh? In spite of the quality of the journal, don’t swallow the study results. Why?

Three reasons: 1) the “brain training” was only 10 minutes a day – way too short for the brain to change. You need 20-60 min./day. 2) a small sample size was used, not a large random one, so you can’t generalize, and 3) there was no monitoring the brain training; all was done at home, where presumably, people are talking to family, spacing out, and not highly vested. Listen: the brain can change, but you have to follow the rules!

Okay; I got that off my chest. Now, let’s focus on something I ordinarily NEVER focus on.

There are many so-called “truths” that float around in education. Some actually are true, and others are a big, smelly pile of doo-doo. For example, if you’ve been to any of my workshops lately, you know why you should NEVER buy into the myth of the “normal” kid.But for today’s newsletter, we’d got another shocker: neuroscientist Susan Greenfield said that from a neuroscience point viewpoint, the whole idea of using learning styles for teaching is nonsense. By the way, she’s not alone in believing there is no such thing as a learning style.

But wait, there’s more…

The Association for Psychological Science (APS) commissions panels of leading psychologists and cognitive scientists to evaluate topics of public interest, and publishes their reports in Psychological Science. In late 2009, the panel concluded that an adequate evaluation of the learning styles hypothesis – the idea that optimal learning demands that students receive instruction tailored to their learning styles – requires a particular kind of study – AND IT HAS NOT BEEN DONE.

How could you “prove” learning styles.

Here’s what you’d have to do: group students into the learning style categories that are being evaluated (e.g., visual learners vs. verbal learners), and then students in each group must be randomly assigned to one of the learning methods (e.g., visual learning or verbal learning), so that some students will be “matched” and others will be “mismatched.”

After the learning and consolidation time, all students must sit for the same test. If the learning style hypothesis is correct, then, for example, visual learners should learn better with the visual method, whereas auditory learners should learn better with the auditory method. But Massa & Mayer, 2006 have found that this has not been done.

So what does this mean?

Read more

Limitations of Brain-based Learning

Nothing is perfect. Limitations of brain-based learning do exist.  No one process or paradigm can solve ALL of the problems in education. The brain itself has limitations, and all of us are part of the process. They are no more difficult than the limitations you find in any other teaching and learning situation. It will take exposure, awareness, skill-building, and time to become adept. But it can be learned in a fun and supportive way.

You can learn the skills and strategies to control how well your students learn.

What is brain-based learning?

Brain-based learning is a new paradigm in teaching that integrates instruction with the optimal method in which the brain learns and stores information. If there weren’t limitations of brain-based learning, as with all learning, then everyone could potentially know everything there is to know.

To understand what it is all about, it is the:

  1. engagement of,
  2. strategies based on, and
  3. principles of how our brain works.

Although brain-based learning takes into consideration the way the brain best retains information, it also is subject to its flaws and weaknesses. The human brain is not optimally designed, nor did it evolve for the purposes of formalized classroom instruction. Thus, there truly are limitations of brain-based learning because it takes people (like you) to implement it and we all have limits on our time and resources.

Here are a couple of examples of limits in a classroom. Read more