The Youth-Counseling Program Helping to Curb Chicago’s Violence

In the minds of many, the South Side of Chicago has descended into a type of madness. While crime doesn’t define the vibrant, inspiring city, violence clings to certain South Side streets where shootings have become commonplace. President Trump referred to parts of the city as “worse” than areas in the Middle East. A few weeks ago, two men shot a young man named Daniel Cardova, and when a group gathered to mourn Cardova some hours later, yet another shooting occurred, killing two people and injuring another eight. Given this harsh and violent reality, a new report offers a gossamer … Read More

Sorry Kids, Schools Need More Testing, Not Less

  In education circles, testing has become the villain of the day. Kids declare exams to be a waste of time while educators argue that the anxiety around tests produces a “toxic environment.” Families loathe exams, too, as I learned when doing some research on assessments, with parents often viewing tests as either a distraction from more important activities or as “testing for testing’s sake.” But when it comes to learning, it turns out, the best research shows that exams help learning rather than harm it, and most schools and universities actually should be doing more testing, not less of … Read More

A Better Way to Learn in City Schools

In a small classroom, Keoni Scott-Reid provided his opening statement. Scott-Reid had been assigned to argue against mass surveillance programs in an Urban Debate League tournament in Washington, D.C., and standing in the front of the room, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, he spoke in rat-tat-tat bursts like a teenage cattle auctioneer. Scott-Reid argued that mass surveillance programs operated on a slippery moral slope. He quoted Benjamin Franklin: “It is much easier to suppress a first desire than to satisfy those that follow.” And then laid out several lines of argument, pointing out how surveillance can promote lawlessness. “Aggressive policing,” … Read More

Say No To Highlighters, Yes to Flash Cards

I had a fun interview with the Seattle Times By the time he was in fourth grade, Ulrich Boser had been labeled a slow learner. He’d already repeated kindergarten, and a psychologist sent to observe him in a classroom described him as a frustrated, inattentive and distracted 11-year-old. In hindsight, Boser now knows that he had not yet been taught something essential: He didn’t know how to learn.   Boser had some specific challenges, including a learning disorder that makes it difficult to follow auditory details. Over time, he got help from his teachers to develop basic learning strategies, and … Read More

Five Popular Myths About Learning That Are Totally Wrong

You’ve made it this far in life, so you probably think you know how you learn new information. But it turns out that false beliefs about teaching and learning are a problem that we carry with us throughout our lives, says Ulrich Boser, author of Learn Better: Mastering the Skills for Success in Life, Business, and School, or How to Become an Expert In Just About Anything. “We’re learning all the time, figuring out how to use new tools,” he says. “When you get a new smartphone or system at work, you need to gain new skills to use it. … Read More