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.
Cognitive reappraisal is an adaptive strategy that helps to encourage emotional regulation by restructuring our beliefs about a situation we view as inherently negative.
We all, I suspect, hold some common sense idea about personality without having to know very much about the science that underpins it. We might be able to spot an introvert or extrovert, although perhaps we just think of them as excitable or reserved. You might even have taken a test that purports to beContinue reading Personality and the Big 5 →
The Long Read… (Originally published in The Psychologist, September 2015) Despite the growth of so-called non-cognitive skills interventions in schools, such as resilience training, there often exists a degree of dissonance regarding the definition of such terms. Resilience interventions have been found to use the term in different ways, reducing the significance of any measurableContinue reading From adversity to buoyancy →