You Probably Believe Some Learning Myths: Take Our Quiz To Find Out

NPR published a quiz based on my new book Learn better. Follow the link to check it out and let me know what you think in the comments! This blog post has some pretty useful information. So print it out; get out your highlighter and take off the cap. Ready? Now throw it away, because highlighters don’t really help people learn.

Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect

Slate featured this excerpt from Learn Better about how, in order to get better at something, you need to know what you’re doing wrong. Smart, focused criticism helps us figure out how to improve. Feedback makes us realize what we’re doing wrong and how we can do it right. As researcher John Hattie writes in his book Visible Learning, “the most powerful single influence enhancing achievement is feedback. ”I’ll admit that I had long ignored this fact in my basketball life. Before pick-up games, I’d often go to the local gym to try and improve but I wouldn’t really monitor my outcomes. I didn’t … Read More

Education debates don’t focus enough on teaching and learning

I wrote this piece for ThinkProgress about the need to focus education debates around improving everyday classroom practice. Here’s the gist of the piece:   Most school reform headlines focus on a pretty narrow area of policy. The latest voucher study will spark fierce debates, while pundits write heated op-eds on the benefits of non-elected school boards. In Denver, discussions of charter schools funding dominate the education debate. In Los Angeles, the conversation is all about school choice. These issues are important. Private school vouchers could decimate the nation’s public school system. But just about all of these policy debates revolve around … Read More

Why I learned how to do math with the ancient abacus

Vox recently featured an excerpt from my new book Learn Better. I pasted the nut of the story below:   As a technology, the abacus predates the making of glass and the invention of the alphabet. The Romans had some sort of counting device with beads. So did the early Greeks. The word “calculate” comes from the expression “drawing pebbles,” basically using some sort of abacus-like device to do math. Researchers from Harvard to China have studied the device, showing that abacus students often learn more than students who use more modern approaches. UC San Diego psychologist David Barner led one … Read More