Archives for What I’ve Been Reading
Many good students, despite having studied, didn't do as well as they had hoped on their final exams. Here are some common reasons: Often, the sheer length of the exam is a problem. According to Pulizter Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, mental effort is surprisingly exhausting. Thinking hard and staying focused burns up lots of mental energy.
It's New Year's resolutions time! Here's a collection of articles plus an excellent book, to help you understand and harness the willpower to succeed in your new plans: Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? Resistance Training For Your Willpower Muscles What You Need To Know About Willpower
Having a written checklist can make a big difference in students' study success. Commonly, kids study "until they feel good about the material," but, unfortunately, this gut feeling can be terribly inaccurate, especially among novice learners.
In my habits class, we watched my very favorite TED talk, The Paradox of Choice. Barry Schwartz explains that much of the stress, anxiety and depression in our modern world stems from “ego depletion,” also called “decision fatigue.” [embed]http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice?language=en[/embed] Thanks in great part to our consumerist society (always trying to sell us yet another flavor of Cheerios), we are barraged by choices, and the human brain gets stressed every time it has to make a choice. We think of choice as a good thing, and of course to a certain extent it is! But, we live in a culture in which there is an enormous choice overload, which can be paralyzing and can lead to stress anxiety and depression.
What was he thinking? Is there a parent out there who can't relate to the first sentence of The Teenage Brain, by Frances E. Jensen, MD? She's a neuroscientist specializing in adolescent brain development and the mother of two teenage boys, and her book is "a survival guide" full of important information about how brains develop, what's going on inside the skulls of adolescents, and what this means for how we parent and educate our teens and young adults. I've just started reading this book, and here are a few of the nuggets I've already discovered:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference. -The Serenity Prayer I like Victorian-era cemeteries, and whenever I visit one the Serenity Prayer enters my mind. In those days there was no cure for tuberculosis, which was romantically called "consumption" and which along with other infectious diseases filled the churchyards and necessitated the creation of vast new burying grounds. Victorian cemeteries were intended as parks where families could picnic and visit their departed loved ones on Sunday afternoons.
Because attention, time, and energy are all limited resources, scaling down and living a high-quality yet low-maintenance life is really the way to maximize contentment and minimize stress.
Sleep is the best meditation. -Dalai Lama These are the simplest pieces of wisdom in this whole collection, and they are amazingly powerful. Oh, how I wish I could relive those days in my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s (days?...actually years) of chronic weariness, when I was heroically trying to “do it all” and muddling through on way too little sleep.
Relationships Are Not Mysterious or Impossible; They’re Just Really Complicated (Day Eight: Twelve Days of Wisdom)
If you love her, support her. -Randy Pausch Love may seem magical, whimsical, steered by the forces of fate, timing and chemistry...but, in fact, love thrives when people behave well towards one another and withers when they treat one another badly. (Duh!!)