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10 Learning Traits that Drive Academic Outcomes

June 21, 2019

The following is a brief summary of the learning traits that drive most academic learning. Everyone has their own unique combination of these traits, just as we all have our own unique fingerprint. It’s what makes each of us special but can also make learning confusing or challenging at times.   The 10 skills are organized in four key domains. Click on the links for more in-depth information on each skill. Complex Reasoning Complex reasoning is the ability to analyze information and solve complicated problems. When students use reasoning skills, they are thinking through ideas in a logical way to arrive at a conclusion. This is often referred to as “higher order thinking.” Don’t be surprised if you have a student who is strong in one area of… Read More

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Summer Assignment: Foster Creativity

June 2, 2019

If you read one education book this summer, consider Alan Lightman’s In Praise of Wasting Time. If it strikes too close to home, you’re not alone. Lightman articulates what many of us are feeling. That our very wired, very stressful lives are driven by a pervasive feeling of #FOMO (fear of missing out). We feel we need to be purposeful (or at least seen to be) every minute of every day. And it’s exhausting. The Joy of Doing Nothing Lightman begins with a vivid reflection on his childhood, as he describes, his “careless, wasteless hours at the pond.”  He makes us wistful for the joy of doing nothing.  While Lightman mourns that loss, at least he has memories. His concern is that today’s kiddos won’t… Read More

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Mindprint in Space: Results from the NASA Twins Study

May 3, 2019

What is the NASA Twins Study?  Identical twin astronauts, Mark and Scott Kelly, agreed to be studied for two years. NASA tracked changes to their genes, cognitive skills and physical and mental health to understand the impact of long duration space flight on the human body and brain. Mark stayed on Earth throughout. Scott spent a full year at the International Space Station. NASA monitored their functions before, during, and after Scott’s flight. What’s Mindprint Got to Do with It? Mindprint’s research partners at Penn Medicine’s Brain Behavior Lab provided the cognitive assessment for the NASA Twins Study. Yes, it’s the same assessment Mindprint makes available to students around the world to understand their cognitive development. NASA describes the assessment as “a much-needed practical, yet comprehensive cognitive… Read More

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Metacognition & Problem Solving

April 8, 2019

Successful learners use metacognition to facilitate their problem solving. This is one of the key findings of the National Academy of Sciences’ synthesis of decades of research on the science of learning explained in How People Learn: Mind, Brain, Experience and School Below we explain metacognition and provide the vocabulary to teach it. In part two of this series we will focus on strategy selection. If you’d like to try our full metacognition approach, please contact us here. Start with Cognition Cognition is how you learn. Depending on the topic, the context, personal experiences and genetics, each of us relies on different proportions of cognitive skills to understand and remember what we read, see or hear. We begin learning the moment we are born and we never stop…. Read More

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Attention Test: If You’re Not Paying Attention You’re Not Learning

March 30, 2019

Attention is the skill that enables students to follow through even when the work gets challenging or boring. Note: This is one of a 10 blog series on learning traits. Read about all 10 learning traits here. What is Attention? Attention is your ability to sustain focus, even for tasks or classes that you might not find interesting. Attention difficulties can affect students in all subjects and activities, but it is likely to have the biggest impact in classes that students don’t have intrinsic motivation. Why is Attention so important ? Quite simply, if you’re not paying attention to what the teacher is saying, you’re not learning. If your mind wanders when you read, you are likely missing out on critical information. If you lose focus while doing an assignment or a test, you are likely to make… Read More

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