Useful and Harmful Jargon

Jargon is useful to some, confusing to others. At its best, jargon is a simple technical term that a group uses among themselves to quickly communicate a complex concept. Thus, jargon is useful to those who understand the complexity behind the term, but it’s generally confusing to those without that background knowledge. At its worst,…

When You Don’t Understand the Brains You’re Trying to Teach

Most beginning teachers quickly discover that they don’t completely understand all the curricular material they’re expected to teach, and many of the noteworthy events the mass media constantly report. Professional pride and the questions and confusion of our students tend to nudge us to try to develop at least a functional understanding of such issues.…

Can Learning About the Brain Help Schools?

In Scientific American, the distinguished neuroscientist Antonio Damasio reflected on the current state of his field and looked into the future. He suggested that “more may have been learned about the brain and the mind in the 1990’s—the so-called decade of the brain—than during the entire previous history of psychology and neuroscience.” Those of us…