The Great Upheaval

13th October 2021

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

The Great Upheaval: Higher Education’s Past, Present, and Uncertain Future, by Arthur Levine and Scott J. Van Pelt. If you’re looking to understand the future of higher education, you couldn’t do better than to look at The Great Upheaval.  What makes this book so interesting is not only its review of past changes in higher ed, but also its careful look at what has happened in leading industries such as movie-making, filmmaking, and newspapers as they’ve been disrupted by the online world. All this background means it’s a slow wind-up to get to the meat of the matter—that is, the future of higher ed. But the careful foundation that Levine and Van Pelt lay pays off. They conclude that many new universities will be unlike their industrial era predecessors. “The key actor is the student or consumer of higher education, no longer the colleges and universities that provide it. The focus is on learning rather than on teaching. The outcomes of education are fixed instead of time- and process-based. Higher education is primarily digital, no longer principally analog, and content is unbundled rather than consolidated. Competencies replace credits as the currency and accounting system of higher education. Colleges and universities are one of many sources for education rather than the sole provider.”  Well worth reading if you are wondering where higher ed is heading post-COVID.

ASEE Presents: Master Class on Effective Teaching – Jan. 11, 12, & 13, 2022—12 – 4 PM, ET

The next edition of the upcoming Master Class on Effective Teaching, led by none other than Barb has now been opened for registration.  Feedback on previous sessions of this workshop have been phenomenal: “Three words for this course:  – Astounding  – Invigorating  – Invaluable” “Brilliant insights” “This was amazing…Best $199 I’ve ever spent in my life!”  

This workshop will give you a chance to review and internalize some of the best insights about effective teaching that recent neuroscience provides.  Most great teachers (like you!) are great because you intuit what learners need, and when. This upcoming Master Class will provide you with insight into why you do what you do in your teaching. This insight can help you leverage your natural teaching intuition even further. The materials are based on the critically praised Uncommon Sense Teaching: Practical Insights in Brain Science to Help Students Learn.

A Google Group for LHL Poland!

If you’d like to learn more about learning and Learning How to Learn in Poland, this Google Group:, organized by Professor Adam Trybus of the University of Zielona Góraw, will keep you posted on Polish goings-on. You’ll find intriguing ventures are underway!

Third Culture Kids

It’s hard to appreciate how much our thoughts are often influenced and shaped by the thoughts of the people around us. But Barb got a feel for this while growing up due to her constant moves—she’d lived in ten different places by the time she was fifteen years old.  When she would arrive in one place, acceptable behavior and thoughts could be quite different from where she lived before.  For example, when she moved from rural Texas to tony Malibu, California, she suddenly discovered that her accent, her jeans, and even her ears were unacceptable.  Perhaps this is when she began to realize that social acceptance is a double-edged sword—sometimes fitting in with others means turning into the kind of person you don’t really want to be.  

Over the years, Barb has occasionally met people who are able to rely on their own observations, rather than on simply finding a way to justify thinking the same way as everyone else in their social group.  Upon questioning, she’ll like as not be surprised to discover that the independent thinker had also moved around while growing up.  In fact, there is a name for these kids—they’re called “Third Culture Kids,” because they can grow up between their parents’ culture, the culture of the place they are growing up, and a culture of their own that arises because of their displacement.  This wonderful article gives a good description of the phenomenon. Of course, there are also people who are able to think independently just because that’s who they are—we salute them!

Retrieval practice tips

If you’d like tips on retrieval practice to be delivered to your e-mailbox, as well as to access a tremendous database of retrieval practice research, you couldn’t do better than go here. And don’t miss Barb’s favorite book on teaching, Powerful Teaching, which is affiliated with the site.

Research into why we can’t remember our early childhood memories

This interesting article in CNN Health describes latest research findings about why we can’t remember our earliest memories.  Key graf: “It is true to some extent that a child’s ability to verbalize about an event at the time that it happened predicts how well they remember it months or years later. One lab group conducted this work by interviewing toddlers brought to accident and emergency departments for common childhood injuries. Toddlers over 26 months, who could verbalize about the event at the time, recalled it up to five years later, whereas those under 26 months, who could not talk about it, recalled little or nothing. This suggests that preverbal memories are lost if they are not translated into language.” (Of course, this doesn’t explain how Barb remembers losing her lunch on the kitchen floor before she could walk.)

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

And Learning How to Learn, a book (and MOOC!) for kids and parents.

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