Cheery Friday greetings from Learning How to Learn! Oct 7, 2016

10th January 2017

Cheery Friday greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

An Important Book on Embracing Risk In Schools

While Barb was in England visiting Bedales School earlier this year, she had the opportunity to meet Mike Fairclough, the Headmaster of West Rise Junior School, which won TES’s Primary School of the Year for 2015 in the UK. Mike has written a very important book, Playing With Fire: Embracing Risk and Danger in Schools, (the Kindle version is here, and a UK link is here, while a superb article in the Guardian about Mike’s work is here.) Barb’s blurb for the book sums her thoughts: “This is a very important, very necessary, and very beautiful book for all parents educators around the world to treasure. Read it and rediscover the best of your childhood—and how to bring it to children everywhere.”

Barb Speaking in Hamilton, Ontario, and in Lansing, Michigan

“Broaden Your Passion! Encouraging Women in STEM” is the title of Barb’s discussion with Dean Ishwar Puri of the Faculty of Engineering of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Tuesday, October 18, 2016. Go here if you’d like to learn more and register. What’s the talk about? Well, research reveals that women and men develop with equal, often outstanding, abilities at math and science. However one of women’s advantages is that they can have a developmental edge over men when it comes to verbal abilities. The result? When women hear the ubiquitous advice to “follow their passions,” they sometimes turn towards their undeniable strengths outside STEM. Barb and Dean Puri will be exploring these and related issues. (And on a lighter note, you may also hear Barb’s story of the squirt gun and the KGB.)

On October 15th at 1:00 pm, Barb will be giving the keynote in Lansing for the American Association of Physics Teachers – Michigan Section, in Lansing, Michigan. Just pop the organizer, Laurence Tarini, an email at if you would like to attend.

Science-based Education

We’re friends of the Evolution Institute, a non-profit science-based think tank. The Institute is launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the construction of a new school, informed by science but friendly to the spirit, to help improve learning in an economically disadvantaged community in East Tampa, Florida that is experiencing very low school pass rates. If you’d like to contribute to the school’s construction, please go here to Indiegogo to lend a hand. (We donated $25.)

Incidentally, a great book that describes the background thinking behind the Institution’s work is David Sloan Wilson’s Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives. This book does for evolution what the best-selling Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, (another of our favorites), did for economics.

A Great Instructor on Video- and Film-Making: Ashley Kennedy

We’ve been taking Ashley Kennedy’s first-rate course on that helps beginners get started with the video-editing program Adobe Premiere Pro. If you’re interested in any aspect of video- or film-making, or the history of film, check out Ashley’s superb courses.

A Beautifully Done Cartoon on the Neuroscience of Learning

We love the magazine Nautilus because we feel they have some of the best writing and most creative articles around. Their most recent issue was a fascinating one on learning. Here’s one of the best of the many perceptive articles: “The Genius of Learning,” by cartoonist Lauren R. Weinstein.

We would beg to differ with an implied premise in the article that practice isn’t that important in learning—but overall, we think the graphical explanation of “Genius Award” winner Danielle Basset’s research is absolutely fantastic. This is one of the most interesting approaches to writing and illustrating that we’ve seen in years. Let us hope that Lauren rapidly finishes her graphic novel How to Draw a Nose—we’ll be first in line to buy it!

Incidentally, Barb’s article “How I Rewired My Brain to Become Fluent in Math,” was one of the most popular articles in Nautilus last week.

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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