How do we learn?

For all the work that’s been done in the world of education, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the process of learning. One professor of psychology, quoted by the New York Times, says, “we walk around with all sorts of unexamined beliefs about what works [in learning] that are mistaken.”

All the more reason to decentralize learning. The more centralized education is–national standards, statewide curricula, large districts with thousands of administrative employees–the more likely it is that invalid assumptions will be solidified into conventional wisdom and practice.

Even some of the most basic “tips” are of questionable value: “psychologists have discovered that some of the most hallowed advice on study habits is flat wrong. For instance, many study skills courses insist that students find a specific place, a study room or a quiet corner of the library, to take their work. The research finds just the opposite. ”

Read the article and you’ll get a bonus: Why making students take tests can be useful for their education.

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