Thursday, September 4, 2014

Notes from Peter Brown’s presentation, Make it Stick
Glenbard South
September 2, 2014

·         Graduate of Lloyd College, author of Jumping the Job Track and The Fugitive Wife (historical fiction)
·         He is a writer and his brother-in-law is Henry Roediger, other author is Mark McDaniel; Roediger and McDaniel are cognitive scientists at Washington University in St Louis
·         Approached by James D McDonnell Foundation in St Louis around 2001-02—started with question: what teaching and studying strategies lead to better memory and learning, team of 11 cognitive scientists headed by Roediger studied the question
·         Big idea: most effective strategy for learning is trying to recall, trying to get out of memory; we think learning as trying to get things into the mind, most effective learning comes from trying to get it out of the mind
·         Big idea: “desirable difficulties” (Elizabeth Bjork) some difficulties that slow learning down result in better learning and longer memory; examples—type a little out of focus, some dysfluency leads to better memory, some letters missing, sequence of lecture that doesn’t follow the sequence in the reading, effort strengthens memory
·         Big idea: learn it better when you mix up type of problems in practice; interleaved—varied or mixed up practice, example—mix up painters and participants learned to identify them better even though they thought it was better to focus on at a time; people persist in thinking it is better to focus on learning one thing at a time even when study shows that it is better to mix up the problems
·         Big idea: when you are required to generate the answer before you are taught and then you are taught the solution after, you remember the solution better; priming effect—found what you know, found the gap, then taught
·         New memory resides in hippocampus, takes time to move to long term memory, consolidation—brain tries to make sense of material, effort to retrieve, consolidate makes it stronger in LTM
·         Study: more test periods, better recall; repeated study periods didn’t help, retrieval practice did help
·         Re-reading creates illusion of matery
·         Better to keep practicing items you know and those you don’t know—better memory for all of them
·         Spaced practice works better
·         Coach students to develop the habits and attitudes to succeed
·         Carol Dweck—students who believe effort matters select more challenging problems, better to praise effort
·         “reach back, carry forward”
·         mix up topics and problem types
·         use self-testing to calibrate judgment
·         experiment, elaborate, reflect
·         practice retrieving new learning from memory
·         adopt a growth mindset
·         mental effort increases mental ability
·         teacher applications: low stakes quizzes, retrieval games (, weekly essential question, study guides
·         Mary Pat Wenderoth at Univ of WA, intro college biology, reduce failure rate, especially with minority women—daily 10 minutes to free recall and write down everything you remember from class, then look at your notes
·         Before reading something ask yourself, “What do I hope to learn from this?” and read for answer
·         Short answer better to generate answers but multiple choice is better than nothing
·         Most research so far in lab settings, just starting to research in classrooms

·         Mnemonics provide way of organizing information