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How Money Worries Make Us Less Intelligent

A few days ago I heard a very interesting segment on NPR, titled “Researchers Find Surprising Results After Testing A New Way To Measure Poverty.” This new approach, NPR reporter Pam Fessler explained, “takes into account the hardship and deprivation faced by an individual or family: How often do they have trouble getting food, paying bills, or getting help for
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Secrets of a Math Master

This morning I had the privilege of watching John Mighton teach math. If you haven’t heard of John and his JUMP program, please do yourself a favor and read this excellent New York Times article, “A Better Way to Teach Math.” I’ll quote briefly from it here: “The experience of some educators in Canada and England, using a curriculum called
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Those Who Leave, Those Who Stay

It sounds like a science fiction plot, but it’s the actual experience of many American employees: all around them, coworkers are disappearing. One day they’re in the office, making small talk around the coffee machine; the next day they’re gone, their desks emptied, their names scrubbed from the company website. When employees leave—whether they’ve been laid off or fired or
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It’s the Environment, Stupid

In an earlier post, I mentioned Paul Tough’s wonderful new book, Helping Children Succeed (it’s a follow-up to his 2012 bestseller, How Children Succeed). In this new book, Tough notes that “for all the discussion of noncognitive factors in recent years, there has been little conclusive agreement on how best to help young people develop them.” Perhaps, he goes on
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With Educational Technology, We Don’t Know What We’re Doing

“It’s time to admit we don’t know what we’re doing when it comes to educational technology.” So says Daniel Willingham, the brilliant University of Virginia cognitive scientist and author of my favorite book about education, Why Don’t Students Like School? In a piece in today’s New York Daily News, Dan continues: “We’ve already had one round of chagrined admissions. About
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All You Need To Know About Parenting and Teaching

Many of you, I’m sure, read or heard about Paul Tough’s 2012 book How Children Succeed (here’s the review I wrote that appeared in The New York Times Book Review). In that book, Tough focused on a group of factors often referred to as noncognitive or “soft” skills—qualities like perseverance, conscientiousness, self-control, and optimism. Later this month, a follow-up to
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How Your Brain Recycles Itself So You Can Learn

In the era when the human brain took shape, hundreds of thousands of years ago, there were no physics professors, no physics lectures, no physics textbooks. (I know—hard to believe.) Today we carry around basically the same mental equipment as our long-ago ancestors, but we expect ourselves to do all kinds of novel things, including learning academic science. New research
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Know When To Grit, Know When To Quit

My take on Angela Duckworth’s (very interesting, very important) research: You’ve got to know when to grit, and know when to quit. In the midst of the grit craze, I propose that we each share a time when we gave up, quit, pulled out—and that was a good thing. Here’s mine: In my 20s, I canceled a book contract and
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The View From West Point

Yesterday I went to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY, to give a talk to the academy’s graduating class of “master teachers.” While there I was thinking about, of course, grit (it’s not possible not to think about grit amid the blizzard of publicity attending the publication of psychologist Angela Duckworth’s new book on the subject). Cadets at
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The Future of the Professor

On Thursday I spoke at the University of British Columbia (boy, is Vancouver beautiful!), on the occasion of the university’s centennial. In an afternoon panel session on “the future of higher education,” we panelists were asked to answer the following question: How might faculty roles be similar/different to the roles faculty play today? What kind of  changes and support will
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