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In the Age of Google, Should Schools Teach Memorization Skills?

As school is about to resume, people are reminded of their strong opinions about how to fix schools: more funding, better teachers, less government interference, more government interference, etc. But the one obvious, and never-stated problem, is that students don’t remember what they are taught. In spite of all the “teaching to the test” that parents and teachers complain about, students still don’t remember the very things they were taught as answers to test questions.

The reason they don’t remember is that they are not taught how to memorize. Why is that? Read the rest of this entry »

Enhance Metacognition and Problem-Solving by Talking Out Loud to Yourself

The MC at the University of Michigan’s reunion dinner encouraged audience members to reveal the most significant take-away from their undergraduate nursing education. The greatest benefit was quickly clear to me — problem-solving thinking. Memory produced a mind video: a short, dark-haired, nursing instructor lecturing a small group of first year students in an empty patient room. “Don’t memorize the steps of sterile technique. Use a problem-solving thinking process.” She described the sequential, cyclical process: define the problem, gather information, develop a solution strategy, allocate resources, monitor progress, and evaluate the solution. Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Contrasting Brain Growth in Baby Humans and Baby Chimpanzees

Charting Brain Growth in Humans and Chimps (New York Times):
– “Although baby humans and baby chimpanzees both start out with undeveloped forebrains, a new study reports that the human brain increases in volume much more rapidly early on.”
– “The growth is in a region of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex and is part of what makes humans cognitively advanced compared with other animals, including the chimpanzee, our closest relative. The prefrontal cortex plays a major role in decision-making, self-awareness and creative thinking.”

–> To learn more about study Differential Prefrontal White Matter Development in Chimpanzees and Humans: click Here (requires subscription).

–> To explore what may have happened otherwise, you may want to watch the new movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

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