Archive for August, 2012

August 26, 2012

Taking a Break Makes Practice Perfect

Another report of research (this one from Soren Ashley and Joel Pearson) showing the importance of time for reflection, and consolidation of learning. Although effort, practice, and persistence are all prerequisites for learning, it seems that all work and no play really does make Jack a dull boy, in the sense of not as smart as he would be if he had more time for play.

A quote from the article:

‘Learning a new skill involves rewiring of the brain, a phenomenon called neural plasticity. For the new skill to persist, those brain changes must be stabilised or consolidated by being transferred from short-term memory and locked into long-term memory. “If the information and/or neural changes are not adequately consolidated, then learning will be temporary or not occur at all,” the researchers say.’

Read more at:

August 21, 2012

Kids Really Do Need Time to Rest and Reflect!

Tiger Mothers and other parents who are ambitious for their children’s academic success, take heed! Your child isn’t necessarily being lazy when she tells you her brain needs a rest. There’s some interesting new research showing that overtraining without ample time for rest and reflection reduces learning:

August 10, 2012

Raising Successful Children by Madeline Levine

In this recent article in the New York Times, Madeline Levine makes the point that parents should not do for kids what kids can do (or almost do) for themselves. Kids do better when they have to work hard, and get to experience working through challenges on their own, or with minimal help. Boredom and frustration (in balance!) can be good.

She also makes the point that it’s important to kids’ eventual well-being and success in all that matters (careers, relationships, health, etc.) that their parents are living lives that they (the parents) find interesting. She says, ‘One of the most important things we do for our children is to present them with a version of adult life that is appealing and worth striving for.’

August 7, 2012

Geniuses Are Made, Not Born

Scott Barry Kaufman distinguishes genius (extraordinary adult performance that moves a field forward, like Einstein or Freud) from precocity (a child’s ability to do something at an adult level of competence–amazing for a child, but not noteworthy for an adult). He observes that ‘We must stop referring to the precocious as “geniuses” and see their feats for what they are: early signs that the child may be ready to start the long, arduous path to acquire the expertise required to learn, or even change, existing paradigms.’

He concludes by saying that although genes matter in a whole lot of way, ‘genius involves figuring out who you are, and owning yourself.’

August 2, 2012

social media vs creativity and clarity

Do social media interfere with ‘the alchemy of face-to-face conversations – the unpredictable creativity and clarity that can happen when you just have an old-fashioned conversation?’

Psychologist Tracy Dennis puzzles over questions about social media in our lives

Networked Individualism: Personal Agency Meets the Electronic Leash.

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