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Bryan Harris's Posts

marijuana

Pot makes you mellow, right?

If your sole source of information about the effects of marijuana use is pop culture (via YouTube, the media, and celebrity statements), it can be easy to assume that pot is simply a harmless drug that mellows people out.  After all, how bad can it be if it is prescribed as medicine?  Plus, there is a growing national trend to legalize recreational marijuana.  All this can lead to the belief that ...

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What can an economist teach us about student motivation?

What can an economist teach us about student motivation?

In their book Sway- The Irresistible Force of Irrational Behavior, authors Ori and Rom Brafman offer interesting insights into human behavior. Using tools and examples from both psychology and economics they outline some of the reasons people persist in behaving in irrational ways.  That is, they attempt to explain why we sometimes do things that make absolutely no sense.

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Grit, Resilience, and a Growth Mindset

Grit, Resilience, and a Growth Mindset

You can hardly read an education blog, a newsletter, or a mainstream publication today without hearing talk of topics like grit, growth mindset, perseverance, and resiliency. Do a quick internet search and you’ll find slogans like “Grit, don’t quit” and some creative folks have developed an acronym for Grit: Guts, Resilience, Initiative, and Tenacity.  So, what’s all the fuss about?  Is there reas...

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Super Easy Memory Strategies

Super Easy Memory Strategies

3 Strategies to Try with Your Students Tomorrow Let’s admit it – as educators it can be tremendously frustrating when kids quickly forget the content we teach them.  In fact, besides dealing with challenging student behaviors, this may be the most common concern I hear from teachers, “My kids just forget the information so quickly.  I teach them the information they need to know and the next day i...

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Would you rather experience physical pain or boredom?

Imagine this: you are alone in a room with nothing to do.  No cell phone, no book to read or TV to watch, no other people to talk to.  Just you and your thoughts for 15 minutes. For those of us who spend time around kids all day, that sounds like a dream come true, right? But, how much downtime can our brains tolerate?  How long can we endure a seemingly boring environment before we seek out somet...

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How much does an organized environment matter to the brain?

We’ve all seen them – messy desks, cluttered classrooms with piles of stuff everywhere, and learning environments so disorganized that we wonder how anything is accomplished.  Common sense, along with a bunch of research, tells us that environments matter.  The way we organize the space, the traffic flow, the placement of visuals and work spaces, and the things like bulletin boards all...

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You’ve Heard of the 30 Million Word Gap?  There’s More to the Story

You’ve Heard of the 30 Million Word Gap? There’s More to the Story

Many of us are familiar with the groundbreaking work done by professors Betty Hart and Todd Risley commonly referred to as the 30 Million Word Gap.  Their research followed 42 families for 2 ½ years in order to record the types of interactions that take place in homes while those families raised their children.  Focusing on children ages 1-2, they sought to understand the impact of different socia...

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Sarcasm – Good or Bad?

In a previous post (here), I explained that I have been learning about how the brain processes humor.  It turns out that it is nearly impossible to discuss the concept of humor without stumbling upon a discussion about sarcasm. For most of my career as an educational leader, speaker, and author I have warned educators about the negative effects of using sarcasm in the classroom.    The “lowest for...

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Zombie Learning Theories

In November of 2014, I posted a short article to the Brainbrainlearning.net discussion forum on the importance of educators being good consumers of education research (click here to read Let’s Be Better Consumers of the Science). Since then, I have had lots of discussions and fielded lots of questions related to educational research, particularly myths related to learning and the brain.   As I’ve ...

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Taking Notes? What Works Best?

Imagine you are in a formal learning setting or a meeting and you want to take notes to help you remember what was said or decided.  Two options are in front of you – taking notes the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper; or typing notes into your laptop or iPad-like device. Which do you choose? If you are like most of us who are addicted to our electronics, you likely reach for your devic...

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