The Charisma Myth

8th September 2021

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, by Olivia Fox Cabane.  Every once in a while, it’s good to return to a book that’s shown its worth through the years.  Just such a book is The Charisma Myth, which is one of the best books we’ve ever read about how to get along with people while simultaneously being more persuasive, influential, inspiring, and yes, charming. (Who knew that charm could be taught?)  If you feel uncomfortable in meeting people and interacting in public settings, this is one of the best books we could suggest to help.  Also good for audio.

A Great Review of Uncommon Sense Teaching

James Haupert, Founder and CEO of The Center for Homeschooling™, writes to say “I just want to let you know that your book, Uncommon Sense Teaching, is becoming very popular at the Center for Homeschooling with our followers.  Homeschooling parents are getting inspired to improve their teaching skills by reading your book. We are talking about it, and I’m heavily recommending it as a ‘must read’ if one wants to ‘up your teaching game.’ I posted a review on our website.  Caution: The review is a little heavy with the use of cooking metaphors, to make it easier to digest, as my audience likes a little sugar mixed with their science!” 

Better brainpower with age: Some mental abilities actually improve after turning 50!

This upbeat article from StudyFinds describes how two of three major components of attention and executive function actually increase with age.  “Alerting is characterized by a state of enhanced vigilance and preparedness in order to respond to incoming information. Orienting involves shifting brain resources to a particular location. The executive network shuts out distracting or conflicting information.

“‘We use all three processes constantly. For example, when you are driving a car, alerting is your increased preparedness when you approach an intersection. Orienting occurs when you shift your attention to an unexpected movement, such as a pedestrian,’ explains first author Dr Joao Verissimo, of the University of Lisbon, ‘And executive function allows you to inhibit distractions such as birds or billboards so you can stay focused on driving.’

“Remarkably, only alerting abilities were found to decline with age. In contrast, both orienting and executive inhibition actually got better. The latter two skills allow people to selectively attend to objects, and improve with lifelong practice, explain the researchers. The gains can be large enough to outweigh any underlying neural reductions.”

iDoRecall continues to change lives

Our favorite flashcard program, iDoRecall, is continuing to change academic lives.  One Harvard-trained MD, for example, uses iDR for his continuing medical education. He emigrated from Jamaica as a child and was able to matriculate to Harvard and pull himself out of poverty, and is now preceeding to mentor more inner-city youth for years to follow in his footsteps. Incidentally, the coupon code FriendOfBarb, will give a discount of 20% off of the annual subscription, and this discount recurs whenever you renew–it is iDR’s only recurring discount code.

Want to reduce Zoom fatigue?

This study suggests that the key to reducing Zoom fatigue is simply turning off your camera.  We agree!

Artificially intelligent Teacher’s Assistants

This Wall Street Journal article (behind a paywall) gives a good overview of developments in artificial intelligence aimed at keeping students engaged and saving educators’ time.  Opening graf: “Not all robots are good at math. Take ProJo, a program that researchers are testing to help students of all ages spot their math and science mistakes, embodied in a small, humanoid robot. Instead of standing in for an instructor, ProJo acts as a peer, inviting the students themselves to help it solve problems. ‘Let’s take turns,’ it might say. ‘I’m not so good at this.’

“ProJo can also help students work together and assess their growth and weaknesses, in both robot form and on a computer screen. It is one of a variety of teaching aids in development, boosted by artificial intelligence, that scientists and educators say could support tomorrow’s classrooms.”

As our own Terry has noted, “Education is going to be the killer app for deep learning.”

Online proctoring software

A first-of-its-kind study examined the security and privacy perceptions of students taking proctored exams. The article concludes: “As many universities and colleges return to the classroom, students may be less willing to trade their privacy for personal safety going forward… However, at the same time, online exam proctoring technology appears here to stay.”

Quality physical education (not just humdrum PE classes) really matter for helping kids to learn

Another worthwhile article from Study Finds reveals that “Dance, martial arts, and high-intensity team sports have a big impact on children’s academic prowess because they are ‘cognitively challenging.’ Researchers say instead of just increasing the number of PE classes within a week, schools should consider improving the quality of the lessons.”

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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