This is the first part of planned series on attention and its relationship to other cognitive processes. Many years ago I recall sitting in a room at Durham University, headphones piping into my brain words I can no longer recall. As the words were uttered I was repeating them out loud, as I had beenContinue reading Are you paying attention? →
Personality is rarely talked about in educational circles and, probably, for good reason. Not only it is a fairly contentious issue (although not quite as contentious as IQ) it also flies in the face or our deep-seated belief that we are in control of our own lives. That doesn’t stop us from completing that personalityContinue reading Does Personality Matter? →
An oft-heard suggestion in teaching is that making information relevant to pupils results in better learning of the material. For example, in a lesson about the conditions in the trenches during the First World War, we might ask pupils to imagine what it would be like. Some teachers might even extend this and set aContinue reading Make It Personal: The Self-reference Effect →
I’ve discussed goals in the past, from the relationship between goals and emotions to the use of incremental goals (or personal bests). What I haven’t really discussed are the nut and bolts of goals, such as how we choose them and go about tackling them. Hopefully, I’ll be able to clarify some of these pointsContinue reading Why Goals Matter →
Positive Psychology essentially deals with human happiness. It’s a movement that grew out of Martin Seligman’s 1998 presidential address to the American Psychological Association. Seligman, a world-renowned psychologist who was instrumental in the discovery of learned helplessness, suggested that psychology needed to shift its emphasis from the negative aspects of the human condition to areasContinue reading Positive Psychology: Past, Present and Future →
We use the term a great deal. I used it countless times when I was writing The Emotional Learner without ever feeling the need to define the term. Wellbeing is sometimes used to mean happiness, or perhaps contentment; it’s often used when people speak about mental illness, suggesting that we can view it in termsContinue reading What do we mean by wellbeing? →
How does our brain go about making memories? And where are such memories kept for later retrieval?
1. What is Academic Buoyancy? Academic buoyancy is the ability to successfully deal with academic setbacks and challenges that are typical of the ordinary course of school life (e.g. poor grades, competing deadlines, exam pressure, difficult schoolwork)
Five psychology books I have enjoyed. There are many others, of course, and this list is in no particular order.
I’m sceptical of headlines that claim neuroscientists might have discovered the mechanisms that lead to bad behaviour, why teenagers are heavily influenced by their peers or why rewards don’t always work with adolescents. Such reports are usually accompanied by a stock photograph of a brain or diagram of a synapse and often dismissed outright byContinue reading What (if anything) can teachers learn from neuroscience? →
Habits have been defined as learned dispositions to repeat past responses (Wood and Neal, 2007). In other words, a habit is a behaviour we repeat because we associate it with a specific outcome. That said, habits can lead to both positive and negative outcomes and we often carry them out without awareness, especially if theContinue reading Nurturing habits in ourselves and others →
Procrastination can be viewed as an emotionally driven response related to our concept of self. Negative emotions arise because we might feel that the task we are putting off simply represents something that we aren’t prepared to handle. We might think of the task as being too difficult or the prospect of failure being tooContinue reading Procrastination: Some causes and cures →
(and the need for feedback) Guessing can be a useful strategy. Students might not think they know the answer to a question, but they quite often know what it is not, allowing them to reduce the pool of possible options. In the case of multiple choice questions, the sight of the correct answer can triggerContinue reading The problem with guessing →
(But Not To Form New Memories). There remains clear evidence from multiple studies that high levels of anxiety can impair memory function. However, this impairment appears to only impact recall and has either neutral or beneficial impact on memory encoding (the process by which new information is stored). One reason why anxiety impairs the abilityContinue reading Why Anxiety Makes It Difficult to Recall Information →
(a work in progress) Why do some students seem to suffer more with anxiety than others? Limited amounts of stress are good for us (especially if we need to escape from a dangerous situation). This acute stress is often fleeting, involving a complex biological and behavioural mechanism that can increase motivation and cognitive function. ButContinue reading A Model of Student Anxiety →
The roots of Self-efficacy lie in the work of Canadian social psychologist Albert Bandura and his social-cognitive theory of behaviour. Bandura defines self-efficacy as ‘beliefs in one’s capabilities to organise and execute the causes of action required to produce given attainment’ (Bandura, 1977). Originally applied to clinical settings, interest in self-efficacy has spread to otherContinue reading A Self-efficacy Primer →
I’ve been thinking about anxiety lately. At a time when many students in England will be sitting or about to sit their mock exams (my own son included), it seemed like a good time to raise the issue again. None of us are strangers to anxiety and, indeed, some anxiety is actually beneficial to us.Continue reading Some Anxious Thoughts →
Attribution theory is a psychological concept about how people explain the causes of an event or behaviour.
Target grades have always been one of my great education bugbear’s, both as a teacher and as a parent. As a teacher, I have also found them to be just as restricting as they are motivating.
Human knowledge is about much more than single concepts or hierarchical structures. Our long-term memories are awash with all sorts of information, from memories related to our own lives to current affairs, theoretical concepts and partially understood ideas.