The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind

13th July 2018

Cheery Friday the 13th to our Learning How to Learners!  (Since we’re contrarians, we think it’s a lucky day.)

Book of the Week

This week’s read was The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery, by Barbara K. Lipska (the neuroscientist of the title) and writer Elaine McArdle. This is a wondrously eye-opening account of what it feels like to go mad, or to be like one of those mean, nasty, self-centered, semi-crazy types who you sometimes run into if you work in customer service. This upbeat, pretty durn happy-ending book is one of the most beautifully-written that we’ve read all year. Good insight into the brain even as we readers receive great insight into the frailty and wonder of human consciousness.

Helping You—and the Children in Your Life—Learn STEM Subjects More Effectively

Barb is speaking at a free event in San Jose, California, sponsored by the Silicon Valley IEEE Computer Society August 7, 2018, 6:30-8:30 PM. If you’d like to meet Barb and help your children learn more effectively, especially in the STEM disciplines, come for a fun and fabulous evening!  Barb will be around before and after her presentation, and will very much enjoy meeting you. (If your children are mature enough to be well-behaved in a crowd, bring them, too!) Learn more and register here—the talk is free, but seating is limited to 200 and pre-registrants are let in first.

Barb in Atlanta Today!

And don’t forget, Barb is speaking today (at 4:00 pm) at the SEA Homeschoolers Conference at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta.

Our Failing Schools. Enough Is Enough

We are enormous fans of educator Geoffrey Canada. Here is his inspiring TED Talk call to action. As Canada notes “America cannot wait another fifty years to get this right. We have run out of time. I don’t know about a fiscal cliff, but there’s an educational cliff that we are walking over right this very second.” Those are as true a words now as when they were first spoken in 2013. Also check out Canada’s autobiography, Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence, including the story of the founding of the Harlem Children’s Zone.

How to leverage prior knowledge to enhance learning

Here’s a nice explanation in layman’s terms of researcher Marlieke Tina Renee van Kesteren and her colleague’s research findings about how memories can be harnessed to enhance learning. Key graf: “Both students and teachers often think that once something is learned it is set in stone in the brain and they don’t have to pay attention to it anymore. However, it actually makes sense to retrieve previously learned information often (a process known as retrieval practice).”

Common CoreA Correction

Several readers wrote to correct a story we linked to last week regarding a Florida school dropping Common Core was actually never a Common Core school. As one reader notes “Speaking as a high school teacher, I believe Common Core standards (they are standards, not a “method of teaching,” as described by the article) have advantages and drawbacks… True, factors contributing to students’ test-taking success are often difficult to pin down; however, much strong research [see here, for example]. indicates that higher test scores are directly correlated to higher socioeconomic status. Naples, the location of Mason Classical Academy, is among the 10 wealthiest cities in Florida.”

That’s what we get for naively thinking that education is a “Faux-News-Free” zone.

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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