Never fear: Research shows you can make learning easier -- you just have to know what works and what doesn't. Raise your test scores with our back-to-school quiz, and take our survey about how technology has changed the classroom.
1. True or false:
Intelligence is fixed -- either you're good at learning or you're not.
Answer: False. In fact, Stanford University research found that simply believing you can work at becoming smarter produces higher achievement.
2. True or false: In a pinch, pulling an all-nighter can be an effective way to learn new material quickly.
Answer: False. Sleep is when our brains consolidate, or make permanent, what we've learned -- meaning that staying up to cram is likely to be counter-productive. Some experts even suggest taking a nap right after you've learned something new.
3. Your son has a high-stakes college interview coming up. To quell his anxiety, he should:
(a) Psych himself up by reminding himself how important it is to do well.
(b) Focus on trying to calm his physical reactions, like a racing pulse.
(c) Set aside 10 minutes beforehand to write about his fears.
Answer: (c). Off-loading anxieties by putting them down on paper frees your working memory -- the mental space for thinking and problem solving -- to focus on the task before you.
4. Your kid needs to learn some Spanish for a class trip. To make the new vocabulary stick, she should:
(a) Space out study sessions over several weeks.
(b) Spend a few hours cramming on the plane.
Answer: (a). Research on what's known as the "spacing effect" shows that we form stronger and more lasting memories by exposing ourselves to información over time. Repeated cycles of learning, consolidating, and then re-encountering material fix it firmly in our minds.
5. Next week your daughter has to give a big speech. The best way for her to prepare is to:
(a) Look over her notes a few times.
(b) Quiz herself, trying to recall the material from memory.
(c) Read out loud from her presentation outline.
Answer: (b). Recalling information is far more effective than passively reading it over. That's because testing doesn't simply measure what you know -- it reinforces what you know, says psychologist Henry Roediger III, Ph.D., of Washington University in St. Louis. Every time you summon facts from memory, you strengthen your brain's hold on the material.
6. Your son just started music lessons. To motivate himself to practice, he should:
(a) Promise himself a favorite video game if he completes his practice schedule.
(b) Choose pieces of music that he enjoys playing.
Answer: (b). As fun as that game sounds, research demonstrates we're most engaged in learning when our motivation is intrinsic -- stemming from the task itself rather than some external reward.
7. Your kid just made the golf team but needs to improve his putting. Which is the most effective way for him
(a) Practice for an hour each day without pausing.
(b) Ask a golf pro to point out his errors and help fix them.
(c) Hit the course with a less experienced golfer to bolster his self-confidence.
Answer: (b). To master any skill, you must eliminate mistakes. Find a coach or critic who can tell you whether you're doing something wrong, and then repeat the correct way until it becomes second nature. A University of Texas at Austin study of the practice routines of virtuoso pianists found that what separated them from less accomplished players was the amount of attention they paid to errors.
Enter to Win a Back to School Tech Package from Microsoft, including a Windows PC, Office software and more!
parenting, education, activities and more
Learning these 10 things is a good base with which to begin the tough preteen and teen years. Helping our children maneuver life is our jobs as parents, even if we haven't quite figured it all out ourselves yet.
In a few short weeks you'll be dropping your child off at college, where they'll spend the next four years learning, laughing, and probably partying. Of course, in true teen fashion, your child has already started shopping for their dorm room essentials. Don't panic just yet!
When tots burst through the door after a busy day at school, the first order of business is securing a snack.
The only thing more important than what you pack your child for lunch is what you pack it in.
Frustrated mom invents Ignore No More app
Do you have the right mix of moms surrounding you?
It's hard to keep young kids entertained while being confined indoors, but fear not, for we have some fun ideas to keep the entire family from climbing the walls during rainy days.
Back in our day, ending up with the same exact backpack as your BFF was a legitimate back-to-school concern. Nowadays? There are so many options, it's dizzying!
It is a parent’s eternal dilemma: What do I make the kids for lunch today? And tomorrow? And next week? We fall into ruts, succumb to the tried-and-true, give in to our children’s demands for junk food. No more! These school lunch ideas—for everything from sandwiches to snacks to hot meals—will freshen up your daily routine, so much so you may be tempted to make them for yourself.
Whether your kids have recently gone back to school or are preparing to go shortly, it's never too late to start thinking about how we can make this year successful and low-stress, both for our kids and ourselves. With that, here are 6 things parents might want to stop doing this year in order to make it the best one yet...for all of you!
Some families spend their after-dinner time playing card games, watching television, or prepping for the next day. And that is fine and dandy, but be sure to incorporate some new, fun games and activities into your evenings to keep it fresh and exciting during the school year.
Head back to school in style with these fashionable, affordable picks