I look forward to reading the Education Life section of The New York Times, which comes out four times a year, the way some people look forward to reading Sports Illustrated. This last release was filled with many wonderful articles, but the one that caught my imagination was entitled, “You, Too, Can Rewire Your Brain.” The article solidified what I’ve been telling students for years who struggle with procrastination. The best way to tackle studying is to chunk your time with rewards in between, what the article calls the “Pomodoro Technique.” This means setting your timer for a 25 minutes stretch of focused work, followed by a break. (I usually say 5 to 7 minutes). During this break you can listen to a song or take a quick walk; the goal is to put yourself into a ‘relaxed’ state (and your mind will still subconsciously consolidate what you’ve just studied).

The focus of the article is on the work of Dr. Barbara Oakley who, from her basement studio, gives Coursera lectures on how to be a more effective learner. She has also written a number of books that can help with lifetime learning such as A Mind for Numbers, in which she presents her belief that anyone can learn math.

One of my favorite images from the article is the notion that there are two types of ways that people learn:”Race Car brains” absorb information quickly while “hiker brains” are slower but observe every flower along the way. While we rush kids into race cars during standardized tests, it’s nice to think about students who are more observant while taking in the world at a slower rate.

The article supported my belief that learning never stops if you have a growth mindset!.

Please read the full article here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/04/education/edlife/learning-how-to-learn-barbara-oakley.html