Archives for Learning Problems

Education

ADHD Types I and II?

One of my students included this very interesting 9-minute TED talk in a psychology class project.

The speaker proposes that, as with diabetes, there are now arguably two forms of ADHD. We could call the inborn variety ADHD Type I; Type II would be what one doctor calls "Acquired Attention Deficit Disorder", developed through excessive Internet use.
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General

Do You Think I Know This Stuff?


One day, I was reviewing with a high school student for a final exam in history. It was rough going; the material was detailed and complex and this young man's grasp of both the facts and the concepts was poor.

We plowed on for two solid hours, and then he turned to me and floored me with this question: "OK, now, do you think I know this stuff?"

Truly, isn't that a remarkable thing to ask? This young man couldn't tell for himself whether or not the hard mental work he had just done had resulted in "knowing."

But what, indeed, does "knowing" feel like? How do any of us know whether or not we know?
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Education

Seven Tips to Help Older Kids Who “Choose Not to Read”

Many students complain that reading is boring, books are stupid, and the material in their textbooks is pointless. In my experience, these are the kids who, in fact, find reading difficult.

When was the last time you listened to your child read out loud? For most parents, I'd guess it was elementary school. It's natural to assume that once kids are reading independently, they don't need any more help from that's very commonly not true....
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General

The Connection Between Attention, Memory and Learning

My son, Matt, uses this simple trick to keep track of his cell phone: Whenever he puts it down, he taps it three times; the tapping focuses his attention just long enough for the location of his phone to register in his memory.

Meanwhile, I spend way too many frantic minutes searching for my phone, my calculator, my car keys, my gym bag...and bemoaning my "terrible memory."
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General

In Defense of Your “Lazy” Child

I've been a tutor for 40 years, and I've never encountered a lazy student.

Scratch the surface of laziness and underneath you'll find fear, confusion, frustration, lack of knowledge, lack of skills, anger, sadness...

And, often, just plain exhaustion.

Willpower is a limited resource, and the demands of the school day can drain a student of her ability to attend and persevere.
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Four Study Tips You Might Not Expect!

I gave this talk today for the PTA at my local high school:
1. Consider Location: Where Does Your Child Do His or Her Homework?
The bedroom is often the worst place in the house!


It's lonely (no companionship or support)
It's full of distractions, electronic and other
And there's that sleep-inducing effect of staring at or studying on one's warm, cozy, tempting bed

Better choices:


Dining room table
Kitchen table or counter (especially for younger students)

My very favorite study location: The public library
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Better Math Instruction, Fewer Learning Issues?

I'm hoping that as math instruction improves and becomes more "brain-friendly," we'll see fewer kids struggling in math.
When I was in my doctoral program, I was amazed at some of the research coming out on kids’ understanding of math concepts. We assume that children all learn pretty much the same math at roughly the same ages, and that they learn these concepts in math class.
In fact, there’s a wide natural variation, and not necessarily a lot of correlation between the math kids are taught in school and the math they actually know.
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General

The Worst Room of the House for Studying

[I'm devoting my Monday blog posts to the topic of Learners with Special Needs, which, I find, describes us all in some way or another.] 

Here's a thought for students with executive function issues, and for anybody trying to get some studying done:

I'm a nerdy person and I study all the time, and pretty much everywhere. My favorite study locations are my dining room table, my coffee table, and any public library.

I also do just fine in coffee shops, on the train, in waiting rooms, in the car (reading while parked, or lectures-on-CD while driving), on the beach (I have been known to bring a textbook to the beach, yes), and while watching a less-than-enthralling movie on TV (I'll browse a book during the dull parts).

I even watch Khan Academy videos in the kitchen while doing dishes; I set up my laptop on the counter and try not to splash.

The ONE place I don't study?  My bedroom. Why? Because I go in there and open a book and fall asleep!
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General

What is Love For?

So Jake's observation stuck in my mind for almost two decades, tumbling around in my psyche along with so many and various other unanswered questions and vague longings and frustrations and angers and despairs.

Jake's observation was that when people say I love you, what they most often mean is:
I love the way you make me feel about myself.
How does that strike you? Dreadful? Cynical? Immature? Selfish?
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