Seven Myths About Education

9th November 2018

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Month

As you can tell, we’ve been heavy into education books recently (don’t worry—we’ll be back soon to other topics!). Our most recent book, Seven Myths About Education, by Daisy Christodoulou, is one of the best on education that we’ve ever read. Daisy’s broad experience in teaching, coupled with her critical thinking skills, provide counter-intuitive insight into how we can be fooled into thinking some ways of teaching are better, when they’re actually worse. Her observations involve seven widely held beliefs that are harming students:

  • Facts prevent understanding  
  • Teacher-led instruction is passive   
  • The 21st century fundamentally changes everything   
  • You can always just look it up   
  • We should teach transferable skills   
  • Projects and activities are the best way to learn   
  • Teaching knowledge is indoctrination.

Although this book was written for UK audiences, its findings are perfectly translatable to what is going on in the US. This powerful book is a “must read” for any parent, or K-12 teacher, professor, or administrator.

Custom interval Pomodoro-like timer
Programmer Alex Shirokov was inspired by LHTL to create a custom interval ring timer.  You can create and save any number of timers with any number of intervals—allowing you to customize your use of the Pomodoro technique. It looks like a circle and has visually clear representation of intervals and counting. You can add, remove and adjust intervals intuitively by finger. It’s not free, but comes at reasonable price.

How One Company Created an Apprenticeship Program to Help Diversify Tech

Here is a wonderful article in the Harvard Business Review by Ryan Carson, CEO of and Founder of Treehouse, an online school that’s trained 850,000 software engineers and helps companies like Airbnb, Nike, HubSpot, Mailchimp hire top tech talent and create diverse teams. When it comes to building diversity at his company, Ryan’s approaches are well worth emulating.

Gene linked to dyslexia associated with lower concussion risk

We often tend to think that genes associated with learning challenges, such as the genes associated with dyslexia, are in some sense “bad.”  But that’s not necessarily the case. Here for example, is an article about recent research showing that the more diffuse neural wiring of those with dyslexia may actually reduce the damage produced by concussions. In other areas, it’s known that the APOE4 gene variant can predispose one to Alzheimer’s in old age.  But, as noted in the New Scientist, “young people with the variant tend to be smarter, more educated and have better memories than their peers.” You win some, you lose some!

Career Help from the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education for Emirati and Arab Youth

The Al Ghurair Foundation for Education has launched the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program – a college and career readiness platform to support Emirati and Arab youth. The entire platform is offered in English and Arabic. We can vouch for the fact that the Al Ghurair Foundation is doing some excellent work in preparing future leaders – check it out if you’re Emirati or Arab in the 15-25 year old age range!

A Helpful Guide to Reading Better

We’re fans of the Farnam Street blog. Here’s a wonderful article on how to improve your reading, whether it’s selecting quality material, or retaining it.  We love the article’s starting quote by Charlie Munger: “In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time—none, zero.”

Spanish Version of Make It Stick

Last week we mentioned Make It Stick—one of our favorite books on learning.  We heard from Óscar Barberá, the Spanish translator, who let us know that a Spanish version is available: Apréndetelo: La ciencia del aprendizaje exitoso.  

Barb in English—El País

If you’ll remember, several weeks ago we featured an interview of Barb in Madrid with El País. Here is the original English version of the conversation. (The translated Spanish longer and shorter versions are also available.) As we mentioned, the audience, and Barb, had a blast!

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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