Annie Murphy Paul

Are We Wringing the Creativity Out of Kids?

Do you think you’re creative?” Ask this question of a group of second-graders, and about 95 percent of them will answer “Yes.” Three years later, when the kids are in fifth grade, that proportion will drop to 50 percent—and by the time they’re seniors in high school, it’s down to 5 percent. Author Jonah Lehrer … Continue reading Are We Wringing the Creativity Out of Kids? →

What’s the Secret Sauce to a Great Educational Game?

Getty Chocolate-covered broccoli. That’s what designers of educational games call digital products that drape dull academic instruction in the superficially appealing disguise of a game. Instead of placing the fun of discovery and mastery at the heart of the game, these imposters use the trappings of games “as a sugar coating” for their otherwise unappetizing … Continue reading What’s the Secret Sauce to a Great Educational Game? →

Where’s the Joy in Learning?

Flickr:WoodleyWonderworks A school is not a desert of emotions,” begins an article by Finnish educators Taina Rantala and Kaarina Määttä, published last month in the journal Early Child Development and Care. But you’d never know that by looking at the scientific literature. “In the field of educational psychology, research on feelings is lacking,” the authors … Continue reading Where’s the Joy in Learning? →

Do Students Really Have Different Learning Styles?

Lenny Gonzales Learning styles—the notion that each student has a particular mode by which he or she learns best, whether it’s visual, auditory or some other sense—is enormously popular. It’s also been thoroughly debunked. The scientific research on learning styles is “so weak and unconvincing,” concluded a group of distinguished psychologists in a 2008 review, … Continue reading Do Students Really Have Different Learning Styles? →

What Kids Should Know About Their Own Brains

Getty Neuroscience may seem like an advanced subject of study, perhaps best reserved for college or even graduate school. Two researchers from Temple University in Philadelphia propose that it be taught earlier, however—much earlier. As in first grade. In a study published in this month’s issue of the journal Early Education and Development, psychologists Peter … Continue reading What Kids Should Know About Their Own Brains →

How to Deal With Kids’ Math Anxiety

Flickr: Grisha By Annie Murphy Paul In children with math anxiety, seeing numbers on a page stimulates the same part of the brain that would respond if they spotted a slithering snake or a creeping spider—math is that scary. Brain scans of these children also show that when they’re in the grip of math anxiety, … Continue reading How to Deal With Kids’ Math Anxiety →

Do Students Know Enough Smart Learning Strategies?

Lenny Gonzales What’s the key to effective learning? One intriguing body of research suggests a rather gnomic answer: It’s not just what you know. It’s what you know about what you know. To put it in more straightforward terms, anytime a student learns, he or she has to bring in two kinds of prior knowledge: … Continue reading Do Students Know Enough Smart Learning Strategies? →

Can Stereotyping Girls Harm Boys Too?

Getty When Larry Summers, then the president of Harvard, made his infamous remark in 2005 about “intrinsic aptitude” in explaining part of the gap between men and women’s performance in math and science, he was accused of making it harder for women and girls to succeed in those fields. He wasn’t blamed for hobbling the … Continue reading Can Stereotyping Girls Harm Boys Too? →

Why It’s Important to Talk Math With Kids

Flickr: Benjamin Rossen Do you speak math with your kids? Many of us feel completely comfortable talking about letters, words and sentences with our children—reading to them at night, helping them decode their own books, noting messages on street signs and billboards. But speaking to them about numbers, fractions, and decimals? Not so much. And … Continue reading Why It’s Important to Talk Math With Kids →

What’s Your Best Guess? Predicting Answers Leads to Deeper Learning

Predictions pique our interest. Once we wager that our favorite sports team will win, we want to know the final score. Once we guess the identity of the murderer in a mystery novel, we keep reading to find out if we were right. The same holds true, it turns out, in the learning of mathematics. … Continue reading What’s Your Best Guess? Predicting Answers Leads to Deeper Learning →

How Much Practice is Too Much?

By Annie Murphy Paul Why do I have to keep practicing? I know it already!” That’s the familiar wail of a child seated at the piano or in front of the multiplication table (or, for that matter, of an adult taking a tennis lesson). Cognitive science has a persuasive retort: We don’t just need to … Continue reading How Much Practice is Too Much? →

Beyond Strategy and Winning, How Games Teach Kids Empathy

Getty By Annie Murphy Paul Until I had children, I couldn’t be bothered with playing games. Couldn’t stand poker, pinochle or gin rummy. Bored out of my mind by Sorry! and Stratego. Never understood the appeal of chess, checkers or backgammon. But once I had kids, games took on a new appeal. Apart from entertaining … Continue reading Beyond Strategy and Winning, How Games Teach Kids Empathy →