The Obesity Code

28th November 2019

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss, by Jason Fung. We’ve met several friends lately who have shifted to eating only one meal a day—whatever they want during that meal—and have successfully lost, and kept off, dozens of pounds. One friend finally clued us into The Obesity Code, which has helped them a great deal to provide a good background and framework for this type of semi-fasting lifestyle.  We have to say, after a month’s tryout, we’re finding this lifestyle has done a lot for helping keep us alert, even while we still enjoy our meals and knock off a few pounds.  The Obesity Code is a wonderfully thoughtful book—if you are having trouble with losing pounds that creep back, even while you’re trying to keep your cognition in tip-top shape, give this approach a try.  (It works great except on days where Barb’s giving major presentations and can’t eat until late!)f you’re in a hurry, just read the final chapters on how to set up this lifestyle.

Pointing Out the Elephant in the Room in Teaching Math to Children

Dan Willingham has written a controversial article in the Los Angeles Times: “Math scares your child’s elementary school teacher — and that should frighten you.”  Predictably, elementary school teachers have recoiled against Willingham’s suggested breaches to their kingdom. Barry Garelick writes an interesting reaction from more traditional perspectives.

Why We Love Closed Captioning

We’ve found ourselves relying more and more often on closed captioning to help us stay focused on videos we’re listening to.  We also enjoy the chance to quickly read through podcast scripts to grab the key ideas—these captions are a benefit that the Deaf Community has offered to the hearing community when it comes to focused learning. It seems we’re not alone in our admiration for closed captioning, as explained in this fine article by Lance Ulanoff in Medium. In it, adolescent psychiatrist Andrew Kent notes: “I believe auditory processing is more easily impacted upon by distractions, and that they need to read [captions] to stay focused.” [Hat tip: Katie Murch]

Questions that Students Commonly Ask about Learning

Barb’s friend Jocelyn Roberts, the Principal at Holland Park State High School, Brisbane, Australia, has set up a wonderful website where students can ask Barb questions about their challenges in learning.  Here are some typical questions (the answers are posted on the website):

  • I try to study by reading my notes or the textbook a few times but I find I don’t remember it very well. Can you help?
  • I like it when the teacher gives us a weekly homework sheet. That way, I can do it all in one session on the weekend and have the week free to do other things. Is this a good way to tackle homework practice? I am passing my subjects but I do forget how to do stuff by the end of the week.
  • I really need to listen to music through my earphones when I study—I can work for longer that way. Is this a good study technique?

You may wish to make posters with some of these questions and answers for your school—many of these are very common student questions around the world! 

Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Down the Drain in Misguided Efforts to Improve Literacy

In yet another sad story of how simply throwing money at education isn’t necessarily the answer, this article notes, “Colorado has spent hundreds of millions to help kids read. Now, it will spend up to $5.2 million to find out why it’s not working.”

What happens in our brain when we are learning?

Watch Barb’s interview with ESIC’s La HoraTech to hear her thoughts.

Socrates and Retrieval Practice

Learning How to Learner Drew Stegmaier observes “Socrates’s famous method of teaching by asking questions has become well known and timeless as a teaching modality.  I suspect it’s because it utilizes recall (which we know is a fantastic way to learn) and engages students by forcing them to problem solve a concept before being fully introduced to it, allowing the question to marinate in the background over the course of a lecture or discussion.”

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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