Cognition on Education

Starting this post, at the start of a new year, is my first resolution for the year 2012. I made the usual ones too– taking better care to get enough sleep, eat fewer sweets, exercise more — but the main one is to share more of my knowledge with folks who can use it. I engage college students in all the classes I teach to think about how material covered (cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, even Intro to psychology & research methods) can inform the practice of teaching. I want to get these thoughts out of the ivory tower and into the streets though. So this is my start.

My primary aim is to make psychological information more accessible to the folks who are ready to use it (so much is hypothetical in college classrooms). Though important topics are covered in books (text & trade), it is all too often presented as a laundry list of options, devoid of thoughtful discourse (and here I am referring mainly to text books) and thus less-than-useful to students and individuals in practice a like. A handful of fantastic trade books are out there, but who has time to sift and sort and find those gems? I intend for this forum to serve as a quick and easy way for interested readers to find some useful food-for-thought. Please note that the contents of my posts stem from many scholarly sources (primarily journal articles that aren’t easily accessible to individuals not affiliated with a university) but I don’t want to bog down your reading with lengthy references. If you want the reference material for a post, let me know and I will send it to you.

Topics on my mind these days are these: (posts forthcoming)
1. Motivation (the most accurate definitions, how to foster desirable levels, what to do when children don’t show it)
2. The difference between self esteem and self confidence
3. The nature of memory: how information is stored in the brain, how to improve knowledge acquisition, why accurate recall is really hard, and the like
4. School readiness: content vs. motivation and self regulation

I will cover other topics too, as I think of them.

A year later I’ve written about all the above, and then some. And proved my own points too, in that memory is fallible. That is, I recently directed some writers to my “about” page, thinking that what was written here was posted there. Ah, memory. Thanks to all who’ve read and commented and shared my posts this year. I hope 2013 is just as, if not more, productive.

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About EricaK

As a professor and a parent, I think a lot about education. Turns out that the topics I teach (e.g., cognitive and developmental psychology) inform my thoughts about teaching, and that is what I want to write about here.