There are many neurological capacities that constitute the underpinnings of learning, even when learning is defined broadly to include reading, math, social communication, emotional well-being, and creativity. These universal building blocks for learning include:
- Attention, the ability to focus across time on relevant information and ignore distractions
- Prediction, the ability to anticipate what is about to come next
- Memory; of which there are several different component parts including short and long term memory, memory for episode in your life (episodic memory) and memory for facts (declarative memory).
- Processing speed; how fast incoming sensory and motor information can be detected, discriminated, sequenced
- Spatial skills; how information in space is perceived, manipulated and stored
- Executive functions; higher level cognitive functions such as inhibitory control, planning, reasoning, decision making.
Improving one or more of these neural capacities/competencies has been shown to improve student performance, independent of content (language, math, science) or curriculum used. This is a far-reaching and potentially revolutionary conclusion that is contrary to the current beliefs of many teachers, administrators, parents and students, who have historically emphasized curriculum as the key to improved learning.
As researchers Michael Rebell and Jessica Wolff of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia University, have noted, there is no general education crisis in the United States. There is a child poverty crisis that is impacting education.
Here's one data point worth remembering. When you measure the test scores of American schools with a child poverty rate of less than 20%, our kids not only outperform the Finns, they outperform every nation in the world.
"Striving for self-perfection is considered a high virtue. And, as one of the world's leading psychologists, we might assume Carol Dweck is a paragon of self-perfectionism. She was, once. That is, until her lab studies revealed the irony that wanting to be perfect stops people reaching their potential.
Dweck discovered the desire to be perfect comes from having a fixed sense of what it is to be a viable person in the world. The person with the fixed mindset needs constant reassurance that they are fulfilling their set self-image. Anything that might crack that open is rejected. Anything less than flawless feels like too big a risk to their whole being. And that attitude closes the perfectionist off to growth.
On the other hand Dweck found that people with what she calls a growth mindset don't fear failure and embarrassment in the same way. Where someone with a fixed mindset is afraid to persevere in the face of a setback or big challenge, the growth mindset person jumps in. They see it as an opportunity to develop and grow. That makes growth mindset people potentially more resilient and creative."
Dr.Blackburn defines "rigor" as: "Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels, and each is supported so he or she can learn at high level, and each student demonstrates learning at high level."...
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