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How Would Your Students Describe Your Classroom?

Would Your Students Describe Your Classroom as Boring or Chaotic?

“This month seems like a lost cause for learning.” Have you heard someone say something like that before? I’ve got an idea for you this month to keep you green and growing all the way till the school year’s over. It’s never too late to try something new that can boost student learning.

This is a great time of the school year for an experiment. Practice going a bit too far in either direction with the strategies below and see if you discover more boredom or chaos. Your student’s not-so-subtle pushback will be the precise feedback you need to find the balance between … Read more

How to Get the Brains of Your Students to Change

brain based learning

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… Read more

How is a Student’s Memory at Test Time?

student memory

You’re about to find out that your students’ memories are FAR worse than you thought, and yet can be FAR better than you thought in another way. Let’s find out how to fix it with four quality solutions. Read more

How to Get Students to Buy-Into Your Content…

Brain based

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: Read more

Secrets to Ramping up Student Effort:

The 10 Step Checklist Every Teacher Should Memorize.

Brain based

Over the years, student effort has been called many things. Some call it “motivation” and others call it “work ethic.” But no matter what you call it, students will never rise to their full potential without a strong effort. Here is what research tells us and how you can get the most out of your students. First…

The Research

Here is what research tells us about student effort. Effort can be internally generated (habits of mind, content knowledge, muscle memory, skills and intrinsic motivation) or it can be extrinsic (peers, novelty, rewards, etc.) There are three primary sources of effort and the first two sources are internal. Read more

10 Powerful Steps for Improved Learning

Brain Based Teaching and Teacher Workshops

How to Make Your Job Easier and Give Students an Amazing Gift
for a Lifetime:

It’s the “Gift” of “How to Learn”

Usually, we feature a column on how to be a better teacher, administrator or trainer. This month, we’ll pause for a moment and work at the other end of the process. What do STUDENTS NEED to be doing to become far more effective learners? Some of the research tells us things we already knew.

PART ONE: The Research

We all know that teaching kids HOW to get more organized for study is important. But there might be a few surprises that are downright counter-intuitive. For example, you’ll be surprised to find out that quizzing MORE OFTEN actually promotes learning. But that’s just one of the 10 powerful steps for improved learning. If you are in a position to share these with staff that can reach students, please share this upcoming list. The research for this month was collected by the following scientists:

Harold Pashler (Chair)
University of California, San Diego
Patrice M. Bain
Columbia Middle School, Illinois
Brian A. Bottge
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Arthur Graesser
University of Memphis
Kenneth Koedinger
Carnegie Mellon University
Mark McDaniel
Washington University in St. Louis
Janet Metcalfe
Columbia University

Typically, I use this area to fill your brain with the “why” behind all the action. This month, it’s posted, so you can look it up. The full research document is posted on the web. Only one of 50 of you either: 1) work with students in this capacity, or, 2) are hungry enough to look it up. The document can be downloaded here (pdf).

The research tells us that the following suggestions have reasonable scientific support for them. If something’s not a good idea, you won’t hear it from me. But wait, there’s more! The online research posted 7 ideas and I have added 3 of my own, for a total of 10. Read more

Exploding the Myth of Self-Control

self control

Self-Control Made Easy

February is the time of the year when it’s not only colder, you’re more likely to have sick days, but also you’re heading into the testing season, too. Oh, one more thing…we tend to put on a few pounds, too!

Any help out there?

This month, we’ll learn about how to get yourself and your kids to do much, much more. We’ll learn about the science behind “self-control”. This executive function skill turns out to have such an enormous impact on our lives that those that are higher in self-control tend to be sick less often, earn more money, have better quality relationships, get more schooling, earn higher degrees, are happier and even donate more money. In short, there’s a very, very strong correlation with quality of life.

But…is it teachable? For the surprising news, keep reading… Read more

Getting Priorities Right

What should your priorities be this year? From a personal standpoint, managing your health through good food, exercise, and stress management are pretty smart paths to follow. After all, if you’re not at your best, both you and your students miss out.

From a professional standpoint, ensuring that students become strong learners should be a top priority.

Since you don’t have time for every idea on earth, what factors will support your student’s growth the most? For now, we’ll focus on just one of the top five factors that drive student achievement. The study we draw from is grounded in work from several thousand teachers, so the sample size is impressive.

Focusing on what matters most is one sure way to “disaster-proof” your teaching.

PART ONE: Research

A human being is born less able to cope on its own than any other mammal. However, this provides the brain with extraordinary flexibility to adapt to its environment. The method it uses is a monster’s appetite for environmental adaption based on experience. Yet, I’ve always said that our brain is primarily a “gist processor.” That means that we are more interested in being effective (goal acquisition) than we are being efficient, being a deep thinker, or knowing a lot of background. In the classroom, this means that most kids (unless we shape their brains differently) would much rather get quirky headlines, YouTube clips, and do activities all day.

To become effective, the brain relies on an exquisite collection of feedback processors. Read more

Can Brain Research Help Educators?

Is there evidence that brain research can help educators?

This question above is highly relevant to all educators. Brain-based teaching is the active engagement of practical strategies based on principles derived from brain related sciences.

All teachers use strategies; the difference here is that you’re using strategies based on real science, not rumor or mythology. But the strategies ought to be generated by verifiable, established principles. Read more