The Pyramid of Myth, Proposed Tax Plan and more in this week’s news roundup!

The Pyramid of Myth
(Effortful Educator)

There are many myths in education.  I believe they all result from well-intentioned educators and/or researchers.  However, with these myths, evidence simply does not exist to back up their claims.  A few of the most prominent myths are: learning styles, left brain/right brain theory, and brain gyms.  I have also previously written on the popular statement of edumyth, “Students don’t learn from people they don’t like.”  These myths may appear harmless, but I don’t see it that way.  For example, if students believe they learn via any one of the popular VAK learning styles, that will lead to biases and misinformation in how they learn.  Now imagine if a teacher believes this to be true.  A classroom of students will be affected by the popular myth.  Now imagine if a school’s administration supports this myth…you get the point.  All of these myths are not harmless.  They misinform and incorrectly steer our classrooms.

Retrieval Practice: The What, Why, and How for Classroom Instruction
(NOBA Blog)

How do students learn? As psychologists, we are likely familiar with research from cognitive psychology. As instructors, we may (or may not) use some of the basic principles from cognitive psychology in our classrooms. I’d like to present a little research on a key principle, retrieval practice, and focus on how we can apply it in our classrooms without requiring more prep, grading, or classroom time.

3 Ways Improvement Science Can Enrich Your Teaching
(Education Week)

Amid all of the hard work that goes into planning and implementing global lessons, units, projects, or school-wide initiatives, it can be easy to get lost in the many details and moving parts of making global learning experiences come to life. One can easily forget to reflect upon the crucial question: Are my actions leading to improvements in my own teaching practice, and ultimately, student learning?

Amid Attacks, Teachers Weigh Their Safety Against Student Privacy
(Huffington Post)

Sharing students’ criminal records with schools may violate their privacy, but some lawmakers think it will make teachers safer. Not all teachers are so sure.

Nationwide Protest Against Tax on Grad Students
(Inside Higher Ed)

At Penn and elsewhere, students organize “grade-ins” to show what they do and how House Republicans’ tax legislation could make it harder for them to make ends meet.

6 Powerful Learning Strategies You MUST Share With Students
(The Cult of Pedagogy)

What does the word “study” mean to you? Have you ever told your students to study for a test? Have you ever actually taught them how to study?

Universities are failing their students through poor feedback practices
(The Conversation)
Educators and students often struggle to learn from each other through the use of feedback. Our research into feedback practices has found that students and staff find feedback practices largely unsustainable, de-motivating and without opportunity for improvement.

A Tax That Would Hurt Science’s Most Valuable — And Vulnerable
As the tax bill moves through Congress, an issue has risen that hits dangerously close to U.S. efforts in science.

Graduate Students Across the Country Protest GOP Tax Plan
(NPR – Audio and Transcript)
To help pay for more than $1 trillion in tax cuts for U.S. corporations, the House version of the plan would end the tax break graduate students get on the value of their tuition waivers.

New genetic variations linked to educational attainment: Genetic overlap between cognitive ability and longevity
(Science Daily)
Investigators have discovered dozens of new genetic variations associated with a person’s general cognitive ability. While profiling cognitive ability, researchers also discovered a genetic overlap with longevity.

ESSA Is a Big Piece of the STEM Equity Puzzle
(Education Week)
To best promote student success in STEM, we need both adequate funding and implementation of smart and equitable policies by all states and the District of Columbia.

Robot learning improves student engagement
(Science Daily)
Online students who use the innovative robots feel more engaged and connected to the instructor and students in the classroom, the first-ever study of a pioneering robot-learning course shows.

Empowering Students to Curb Bullying
Standing up to bullying can be frightening, but students can use these low-risk strategies to support peers who are bullied.

Making Sure Your Praise Is Effective
Research-backed ideas on how to give meaningful praise to inspire and reinforce positive behavior.

College credit while in high school
(Flypaper Blog)
Like pumpkin-spice lattes during autumn, ways of getting college credit during high school (CCHS) are big business nowadays, whether one is looking at such tried-and-true vehicles as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate or fast-growing newcomers like dual credit, dual enrollment, early-college high schools and P-tech schools.

Nationwide Protest Against Tax on Grad Students
(Inside Higher Ed)
At Penn and elsewhere, students organize “grade-ins” to show what they do and how House Republicans’ tax legislation could make it harder for them to make ends meet.

Are We Thinking About Reading Comprehension All Wrong?
(KQED – MindShift)
Yet despite the obsession with teaching reading in the early grades, many educators don’t fully understand how the brain reads.

7 Common Neuromyths That Many Educators Believe
Surveys of teachers have revealed that many believe seven common myths about the brain, likely because the simple explanations are often attractive, even if totally wrong.

Nice Brains Finish Last
(Scientific American)
More “prosocial” brains are more prone to depression, study suggests.

Graduate Students Mobilize ‘to Stop Something That Can Ruin Us’
(The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Senate Republicans are expected to bring their tax-reform proposal to a vote this week, but the House Republicans’ plan — passed on November 16 — already has graduate students hustling nationally to protest.

House Republicans Eye Sweeping Changes in Higher Education Act
(The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Among the changes in the overhaul package from the U.S. House’s education committee, led by Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, are a plan to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the Fafsa, and cap the amount that students may borrow. And it would end a loan-forgiveness program for public servants who have made payments on their loans for 10 years.

Incentives for Course Evaluations
(The Learning Scientists)
Given that course evaluations are a part of life in higher education and that presumably readers of this blog are interested in improving their teaching, we ought to attempt to get the best feedback possible from our course evaluations.

About the Author

Amanda Macchi, MPH
Amanda comes to the APA as a recent graduate of the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. During her time at GW, Amanda studied global health, focusing on the challenges facing mental health in low-and middle-income countries. She received her undergraduate degree in marketing from Emerson College in Boston, Mass. In her free time Amanda loves pyrography, furniture making and spending time with her dog, Becky.
Hunter Clary
Hunter is a communications professional who came of age in the digital revolution, and has witnessed big changes in how we communicate. In his eclectic 20 year career he’s seen vast changes across multiple industries from advertising, B2C, professional services, publishing, and now non-profit. During his time at APA Hunter has watched the growth of in the organization’s web presence; a shift from print to digital media; and the pickup of social channels like the PsychLearningCurve. A tech geek at heart, Hunter is naturally drawn to all things shiny and new especially when it comes to communicating – particularly social media and apps. Hunter seeks to understand the world around him -- add in a penchant for creative design and a reporter’s curiosity and you’ve got Hunter. Through this blog he hopes to help translate quality psychological science into practical uses for educators, students, and parents.