I often write about research studies from various field and how they can be applied to the classroom. I write individual posts about ones that I think are especially significant, and will continue to do so. However, so many studies are published that it’s hard to keep up. So I’ve started writing a “round-up” of some of them each week or every other week as a regular feature:
Why Do Some People Learn Faster? is the title of a column by Jonah Lehrer in Wired. He reviews a study that highlights the importance of learning from mistakes and failures, and ends the article with this:
The problem with praising kids for their innate intelligence — the “smart” compliment — is that it misrepresents the psychological reality of education. It encourages kids to avoid the most useful kind of learning activities, which is when we learn from our mistakes. Because unless we experience the unpleasant symptoms of being wrong — that surge of Pe activity a few hundred milliseconds after the error, directing our attention to the very thing we’d like to ignore — the mind will never revise its models. We’ll keep on making the same mistakes, forsaking self-improvement for the sake of self-confidence. Samuel Beckett had the right attitude: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Does impatience make us fat? is an article in the Washington Post pointing out another negative result of not having self-control. I’m adding it to My Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control.
Inspiring Stories Can Lead to Empathy is a report on a study that “found that the participants often would spontaneously reflect on their own lives and express a desire to be better people after hearing stories meant to induce admiration for virtue or compassion for social or psychological pain.” I’m adding it to the post “Becoming What We Read.”
Stress does shrink your brain, research shows reports on a study that found “suffering from stress for long periods of time can shrink the brain.” Unfortunately, the newspaper article does not actually cite the source of the study. I’m still adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Teens & Stress.
Do Happier People Work Harder? is a New York Times article on a study finding that yes, they do. The study found that people feeling like they are “making progress in meaningful work” is the key determiner of happiness on the job. That sounds like something we teachers might want to keep in mind, too. As an article about the same study that appeared in Harvard Business Review said:
On days when workers have the sense they’re making headway in their jobs, or when they receive support that helps them overcome obstacles, their emotions are most positive and their drive to succeed is at its peak. On days when they feel they are spinning their wheels or encountering roadblocks to meaningful accomplishment, their moods and motivation are lowest.