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Carol Dweck is one of the most famous learning theorists alive today. Though she has been studying mindsets for decades, she is perhaps best known for her (appropriately-titled) book, Mindset Her ideas have directly helped hundreds of thousands of readers learn and teach more effectively, and they have indirectly helped millions more by influencing the way we think about learning and intelligence today. When it comes to intelligence there have always essentially been two schools of thought. One claims intelligence is a relatively fixed quantity that is stable throughout our lifespan, while the other argues it is a malleable quality that can change depending on experience (i.e. a variation of the infamous Nature versus Nurture debate). Adherents to the first school often adopt "entity" theories of intelligence and pursue "performance goals," in which they are concerned with gaining favorable judgments of their competence, whereas adherents to the... read more

No one likes to mess up, but going to great lengths to avoid errors - even when the consequences of making an error are benign - is unlikely to help you learn. In fact, in her review of the literature, Janet Metcalfe makes a compelling argument that making errors while learning - so long as you receive corrective feedback - results in better outcomes than making no errors at all. Her findings are somewhat counterintuitive. If the goal is to perform flawlessly in high-stakes situations, shouldn't we pursue perfection in order to prepare for them? Early theorists feared that the commission of errors would make it harder to learn the correct response later on. One of the most famous psychologists of the 20th century, Albert Bandura, believed that only correct responses should be rewarded; errors, if they occurred, should be ignored. However, what Metcalfe's review of the literature suggests is that errors should be encouraged as part of an active exploratory learning process,... read more

You might wonder what emotion has to do with learning, and why I am writing a blog about sleep and emotion. If you think about it, though, how you to react challenging situations - the emotions you feel, and the cognitions, physiology, and behaviors that accompany them - can have a profound impact on how you learn. Indeed, emotional reactivity can have a profound impact in multiple domains, but in this blog we will focus on its impact on learning. Modern neuroscience is not necessary to understand that sleep is fundamentally important. However, it increasingly allows us to understand why that is the case. Andrea Goldstein and Matt Walker reviewed the literature on sleep and emotion and make a compelling case for the causal role of sleep in optimal affective brain function. For our purposes, I want to focus on the overarching theme of how sleep deprivation diminishes effective emotional reactivity. When people are sleep deprived for even one night, functional... read more

1) MEANINGFUL: Ensure that it is the most meaningful to the client/student. Get to know your client/student, and the skills strengths and currently less strong areas. Build up both areas of skills and strategies in a positive manner.   2) ENJOYABLE: Allow learning to be enjoyable. It can be, even when preparing for a deadline or important examinations. Turn it into a game. Research shows that students, both kids and adults, learn faster and retain more if it is enjoyable. This can only happen if the tutor actually loves to learn and to see the student excel.   3) OWNERSHIP AND LEARNING PREFERENCES FOR FASTER COMPREHENSION: Provided the goals are being reached within the required time frame, allow the client/student to choose (or even create if the individual desires to) which preferred ways the client's goals can be reached. Ownership of the learning process, even if it is part ownership, enables clients to learn faster and to retain more. While not ignoring... read more

This is advice that I always give to my students for the in-person classes that I teach. In order to excel in any subject that one is learning, it is important that you do the following: Go to class every day. Missing classes (whether they are in-person or online) is missing opportunities to learn! Do your homework. Complete the assignments that you are given. Instructors give assignments not to torture you, but to help reinforce what you learned in class. Remember, practice makes perfect. Practice what you've learned everywhere that you can. This is especially important for language learners. Read, write, and speak the language that you are learning at home and work. Take the extra time to make "self-assignments" and use what you know. Practice helps you progress faster. Keep a journal of what you learned. Learning journals are a wonderful tool as you can use them for both note-taking and motivation. Start by making a few short notes about what you... read more

Understanding your child's / student(s)' learning styles is one of the most important factors in helping them reach success.  At the end of the day, why else did we become parents or teachers but to watch the next generation learn?  The problem is that we often assume that everyone learns and processes information the same as we do.  If they don't, does that mean there is something wrong with THEM?!  Absolutely not!! Respecting and building on the natural learning style of the learner, in my opinion, is the most important role of the tutor.   In my day, everything was pretty much done by taking turns reading aloud.   The problem for me was that I was not good at processing information while reading aloud nor was I savvy at auditory processing.  For several years I was treated as though something was wrong with me and given that I had an older sister who processed information "normally," I internalized that message for a very... read more

I want my students to enjoy the hands on learning experience of fine art, and to accomplish this I strive to create custom curriculum catered to each student. By understanding the needs of my student and what their goals are I can keep their interest and the process of learning fun.  I believe in teaching through encouragement and positivity, and the importance of not taking yourself too seriously.  As Mrs. Frizzle always said, "Its time to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!"

We all have one: that one subject that our brains just refuse to understand, and no matter how much we study or how hard we work, we never feel like we really truly GET what is going on.   For me, that subject was always Physics. No junior high or high school teacher could ever answer the unending string of "...but WHY?" questions that I needed answered before I could understand even the most basic concepts of our Introductory course. It wasn't that I couldn't understand, but rather that I wasn't being taught these ideas in a way that made sense to me.    As an adult, Physics is now actually one of my favorite subjects to read about because I have found some books written for people just like me, people who need explanations fulls of examples and explanations and lots of pictures! I may never discover black holes or split an atom, but I now know enough that I can understand the people who do those things. :-)     So,... read more

So many times I hear teachers say, "but, I taught it."  Well, how do you know they learned it?  We need to move away from "teaching" and move to becoming "facilitators of learning."  Some may feel there is no difference, but there is and it's pretty big.  When we facilitate learning, we are involving the student and making the lesson student-centered and relevant to their age, interests and the world they live in.  We are not simply relaying information, but getting students involved in big concepts and ideas and helping them to connect this new information to their lives and to world events happening around them.  This makes new learning relevant instead of just words and facts in a book.   Students need to be a part of their education and not have education "done to them."  When we partner with our students we both benefit - students feel more involved and engaged which makes the experience a... read more

Learning is a gift. Learning is an opportunity. Learning helps us reach our potential.   To nurture a growing desire to learn I: Play lots of games to teach. Connect learning to your child's personal interests. Devise fun and effective learning strategies to make the material memorable. Use technology to aid in the learning process. Apply various creative methodologies to the learning process.

1. Learning should be fun for both the student and the tutor! 2. Although there is room for memorization, more emphasis should be put on analysis. 3. A large part of knowing or learning about any subject is knowing where to find answers to questions that come up in study. 4. More emphasis than ever before should be put on testing the credibility of sources in this internet age. 5. Once one starts learning a certain subject, one should start to recognize it coming up more often in what one reads, listens to and watches, since the more one encounters something, especially with more than one sense, the more one will internalize that knowledge.

I have a few ideas about the way the education system should work and what its goals should be. For one, I believe the primary goal should be to impart knowledge and convey understanding. Not to "weed out" students, stratify the class into distinct performance and grade levels, or even to "challenge" the students. All those things can happen naturally and spontaneously without any extra effort from the administration.   What good is an educational system or institution if the knowledge doesn't stay with the students because they binge and purge facts like intellectual bulimics? With terms like "cram", "all-nighter", and "data dump" becoming more and more frequent before and after exams, it's clear that something is seriously wrong with our standards and objectives. Are we trying to produce thoroughly skilled and educated professionals or trivia game contestants? Blind memorization is not the same as understanding and... read more

But there's always MORE math! That's what I told one of my students a month ago, and I meant it. I've dealt with math in every role from student, to teacher, to tutor and I can honestly say that the more I learn, the more I'm sure that I've barely scratched the surface of what's out there. A scary thought considering I've been educated in the subject for nearly 25 years. So what is a high school student to do these days with so much scary math out there?   I have one piece of advice: focus. That does NOT mean fixating on every minor detail you come across in order to then extract meaning from each individual piece of information and then put it all together at the end. That's not focusing, that's suffering. Nobody learns the ABC's all at once. Neither should you attempt to do it with math.   In order to focus, it helps to (temporarily) ignore the minor details and devote your attention to "the big picture." You want to quickly identify and master... read more

Many times I have reflected on my favorite part of interacting with students I have met through WyzAnt. I have always found the "discovery" process with a student to be one of the most exciting times during our sessions. The Discovery process consists of the first 10 to 20 minutes when I learn about why they are seeking additional help in a certain area and what they hope to achieve. These are some of the scenarios I have encountered:   a young professional, just starting out in their career, tasked with re-writing a complex system a Masters student seeking a degree in business an Electical Engineering student seeking an undergraduate degree a self-employed business man seeking assistance with converting a system to a new language a computer science student who needs reinforcement with certain lessons   Not all of these interactions have led to immediate progress but they have definitely taught me how to interact more effectively... read more

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