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Archives for Knowledge


How To Help Kids Make Knowledge Stick

Kids tend to under-prepare for tests and be overly optimistic about the quality of their writing, and parents may suspect laziness or lack of motivation.

However, much of the problem can be the student's fuzzy sense of what "knowing the material" means or what "a good essay" is.

The ability to "know what you know" is called metacognition, and it's one of the big developmental tasks for maturing students. The younger...
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Unfortunately, Ignorance Feels Blissful: The Dunning-Kruger Effect

In my last post, I wrote about a student who couldn't tell whether or not he "knew" the material for a history exam.

At least my student was knowledgeable enough to have doubts about his knowledge. Ironically, the truly clueless often don't wonder; they tend to be quite secure that they've got it knocked!

Psychologists call this the Dunning-Kruger Effect, in which ignorant people often have great confidence in their "knowledge," whereas...
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Pythagorean Pitfalls: Help for Math Students

As I go on my tutoring rounds, I wind up reteaching and clarifying the same material over and over. Certain topics and concepts are just plain hard for students to wrap their heads around.

Many kids in grades 6-10 are currently covering Pythagorean Theorem or other geometry topics, and many are struggling (as usual!) with the word problems.

If you are a parent, thinking Yipes ! I don't remember Pythagorean Theorem, the good news is that...
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The Wisdom to Know the Difference (Day Twelve: Twelve Days of Wisdom)

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...
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Emotions and Feelings

Day Four: Memory is not accurate. Nope, not even yours. (Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Our memories can seem so vivid and realistic, it’s hard to believe they’re not literally true! But memory doesn’t work like a video camera.

For one thing, due to our limited powers of attention (see Day One) we never get the whole story to begin with. Then, every time we recall an event our minds edit and interpret and embellish, like a fish story.

And we do an especially inaccurate job on emotionally loaded events; we freight...
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