Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

We have a habit of reading books about rebellious, contrarian sorts of people. Quirky: The Remarkable Story of the Traits, Foibles, and Genius of Breakthrough Innovators Who Changed the World, by Melissa Schilling, is among the better of these books. Schilling’s discussion of the independent, sometimes lonely perspectives of remarkable innovators is alone worth the price of the book—she makes a clear case that too much group work and “creative collaboration” can unintentionally kill creativity.  Well worth the price if you’re interested in creativity.

A “Dunce” Robot that Helps Children Learn

In Japan, a new type of robot has been developed that gives kids the opportunity to help their little robotic companions to learn. “By teaching a less intelligent robot, children reinforce their own learning and so become stronger students themselves.” A cool twist on robots!

A Reminder about the Pomodoro Technique

This blog post by author and teacher Ann Michaelsen of Sandvika High School near Oslo, Norway, gives a reminder of the great value of the Pomodoro Technique.

Cautions and Caveats about Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching

We’re keen proponents of active learning in the classroom (see our oft-cited paper related to the topic). But findings from the following paper, which build on research from neuroscience and cognitive psychology, are well worth keeping in mind when veering too far from instructor-directed learning: “Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching.” This important paper has over 5,600 citations. Key graf: “Evidence for the superiority of guided instruction is explained in the context of our knowledge of human cognitive architecture, expert–novice differences, and cognitive load. Although unguided or minimally guided instructional approaches are very popular and intuitively appealing, the point is made that these approaches ignore both the structures that constitute human cognitive architecture and evidence from empirical studies over the past half-century that consistently indicate that minimally guided instruction is less effective and less efficient than instructional approaches that place a strong emphasis on guidance of the student learning process. The advantage of guidance begins to recede only when learners have sufficiently high prior knowledge to provide ‘internal’ guidance.”

Best Productivity and Time Management Books

Here’s a useful reading list by Arthur Worsley of the 70 Best Productivity and Time Management Books in Existence. Arthur has also written comprehensive summaries for some of the most important books on the list, including David Allen’s Getting Things Done and Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. There are even summaries to some LHTL favorites like Deep Work and The Power of Habit.

A Math Teacher’s Day at Ed Camp

This article, by math teacher Barry Garelick, points towards the problem of trends and fads in modern professional development for teachers.  Key graf: “Having been in the position of a parent raising a daughter subjected to student-centered classrooms, I think what that parent meant was not so much, ‘Why should I be involved in my child’s education?’ but rather: ‘I’m doing a lot of teaching at home that should be going on in the school.’ Many parents have complained that students are not being taught grammar, math facts, and other necessities of education, but which teachers of student-centered classrooms consider ‘drill and kill’ and ‘drudge work.’  That may account for the popularity of learning centers like Sylvan, Huntington and Kumon, which all focus on these things.”

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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