As You Wish

26th December 2019

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, by Cary Elwes. We’ve long been fans of the cult-classic movie The Princess Bride. After reading As You Wish, we had to watch the movie yet again, this time to observe where Westley gives a slight hobble (a result of breaking his toe while romping offset with André the Giant), and to once more enjoy such classic lines as “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father; prepare to die!” The Princess Bride has a low key humor that creeps up on you instead of smacking you in the face—all this makes it one of the nicest holiday films around to enjoy with the family, even as you can regale the family with anecdotes of movie-making from Cary Elwes’ wonderful As You Wish. Enjoy!

The 100 Most Popular Free Online Courses of 2019

Class Central is back with a compendium of the most popular courses that first launched in 2019.  This is a very useful list for deciding what MOOCs should be in your plans this coming year.

Your Advice Could HelpDo You Know of Affordable and Good Quality Home Schooling Options?

A friend of Barb’s from Botswana is looking for affordable and good quality homeschooling options. Private schools in Botswana can be very expensive, so he is exploring the possibility of homeschooling his children. He can afford up to a maximum of US$ 150.00 per month per child. Do you have any suggestions about this? If so, please post in the discussion forum here

An Anki Deck to Help You Learn More about Learning How to Learn

Maurice McCabe has created an Anki deck of flashcards to help learners master the material in Learning How to Learn.  You can access it here.  

Limits and Problems with Teaching Mathematics Using Reform Approaches

Jo Boaler is one of the leading figures of reform mathematics—her most recent book is Limitless Mind: Learn, Lead, and Live Without Barriers. As cognitive neuroscientist Daniel Ansari points out in this review in EducationNext, Boaler’s book is riddled with out-of-date, misleading, and unsourced claims.  Key grafs: “…while the book’s content is a mile wide, its substance is little more than an inch deep…. Unfortunately, Boaler’s review of the empirical literature on efforts to change mindsets uses outdated studies and overstates the effects of the interventions…. Ironically, despite reviews and blog posts pointing out Boaler’s clear errors of interpretation and inference in her previous writings, she adopts a fixed mindset when it comes to scientific evidence, continuing her past tendency to play fast and loose with these findings and to ignore those that run counter to her narrative.”  These types of criticisms of Boaler’s popular writing lend credibility to the criticisms of Boaler’s research. Her scientifically problematic research, unfortunately, is often used as a platform for reform approaches to teaching mathematics. K12 schools and university Schools of Education that follow the standard reform approaches to teaching mathematics advocated by Boaler and her colleagues are, it seems, promulgating denial of science. Caveat emptor.

Speed Reading

Speed reading is a contentious subject—our friend Scott Young has written an excellent article describing how his stance shifted from pro to con.  Memory champion Nelson Dellis, on the other hand, did a video showing how he’s applied speed reading techniques. He has some useful suggestions (setting aside dedicated reading time is always a good idea!) But we feel Nelson’s approach is better suited for lighter materials—it would be a tough sell, for example, to use these ideas to plow through a book on advanced vector calculus. Nelson’s videos are always intriguingly shot and edited, but on this one, we would have loved to have known what he thought of the book, and greater context about when his suggestions might or might not be appropriate for certain types of reading materials. What do you think?

A Wonderful Video Overview of the Field of Neuroscience

The videos below were created for the 10th anniversary of the Center for Neuroscience and Society 10th anniversary reunion by some of the leading lights in neuroscience. Enjoy!

Methods Refresher/Updates

Progress in the Neurofields

Special Topics

That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

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