Super Gut

25th February 2022

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Books of the Month

Super Gut: A Four-Week Plan to Reprogram Your Microbiome, Restore Health, and Lose Weight, by William Davis, MD.

It is shocking how many syndromes are being connected to the gut biome—including not only autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis but even heart disease such as atherosclerosis as well as Alzheimer’s disease.  This informative book lays out interesting approaches to getting your gut biome “in gear.”  What’s encouraging is that the book isn’t recommending the author’s own products as a cure-all, but instead makes detailed recommendations for how to inexpensively grow your own biome replenishment yogurts using anything from cows’ milk to nut milks to even salsa or hummus.  You might be surprised to learn that just purchasing probiotic species such as Lactobacillus reuteri is not enough—different strains (for example, Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938) can have profoundly different effects.  Purchasing a bacteria without knowing the strain, in other words, can be akin to getting a dog without knowing whether it’s a Chihuahua or a Great Dane. This is a fascinating book!

The Bridge at Andau: The Compelling True Story of a Brave, Embattled People, by James A. Michener. In an eerie coincidence, we have just finished reading Mitchener’s riveting book on the doomed Hungarian revolution of 1956.  (Barb’s platoon sergeant in West Germany during the 1970s was an escapee from Hungary.) The Bridge at Andau provides insight into today’s equally appalling invasion by Russia of Ukraine as it tells the story of the brave Hungarian resistance to the ravages of communism and predations of the Russians.

The Homeschool Directive Conference

Many parents are moving their children out of public schools and into homeschooling. The Homeschool Directive Conference on March 14 and 15 is an online event by experienced homeschoolers that is designed to train, encourage, and inspire you so you can give your teen a great high school experience at home. If you are homeschooling, or considering homeschooling, this event is for you. 

Barb in Hungary, Romania, and Slovenia

Barb will be in Ljubljana, Slovenia March 22-24 speaking for her Slovenian publisher, Zalozba Vida. She’ll be in Bucharest, Romania March 26-29 speaking for her Romanian publisher Curtea Veche, and Budapest and Szeged, Hungary March 30-April 9 speaking on behalf of the eLearning Team of the University of Szeged, which is helping to pioneer online learning in Hungary. (Note the Hungarian version of Learning How to Learn!) 

Join a Learning Squad!

An intriguing new approach to learning with others is being pioneered by social learning company WeAreSix. If you are interested in joining a learning squad (a study group with a maximum of five people), please sign up for this pilot program at There are limited spots available.  Give it a try! Group learning can increase your motivation and chances of completing the course.

The “sweet spot” of balance between teacher-directed and student-directed learning

It can be difficult to figure out the optimal ratio of explicit instruction by a teacher (teacher-centered) versus inquiry-based (student-centered) approaches.  This report, “How to improve student educational outcomes: New insights from data analytics,”is based on a massive analysis of PISA data by McKinsey. It observes: “The “sweet spot” is to use teacher-directed instruction in most or almost all lessons, and inquiry-based teaching in some lessons. This pattern holds true across all…regions.” The report goes on to say “School systems need to tread carefully in selecting inquiry based teaching practices…. Our analysis shows that there is a set of practices that have a negative impact on average student scores across almost all regions—even when applied in only some lessons. These practices include having students design their own experiments, asking them to do investigations to test ideas, having a class debate about investigations, and requiring students to argue about science questions.”

Teaching math

In a related, “sweet spot” vein, you may wish to check out Rick Hess’s review of Barry Garelick’s mischievously insightful book on teaching math in these modern times: Out on Good Behavior: Teaching Math while Looking Over Your Shoulder.

Want to Help Others While Helping Yourself?  Free Book Giveaway!

“80,000 Hours,” a company associated with the University of Oxford that specializes in helping people to find beneficial careers for themselves AND others, has a book give away of free copies of Doing Good Better (about how altruism is often ineffective), The Precipice (about why we neglect existential risks), and the 80,000 Hours Career Guide to anyone who joins their newsletter. You can join here.

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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