Robert Sylwester

Folklore, Scientific Research, and Educational Practice

Professional folklore, such as beliefs about the best possible class size, drives much current educational policy and practice. This is not a condemnation, for folklore is the set of practical powerful beliefs about mysteries that emerge over time within an… Continue Reading →

The Purpose and Nature of Language

Schools teach students how to read and write, but not what reading and writing are — and what something is differs from how one does it. Spoken language emerges effortlessly in children. They’re so busy doing it that they don’t… Continue Reading →

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… Continue Reading →

Understanding the Brain for Better Policy and Practices

Recent dramatic advances in cognitive neuroscience are explaining educational problems that have long mystified educators. Expect the process to escalate. One serious emerging problem in this otherwise positive development is that teacher education programs and the K-12 curriculum focus much… Continue Reading →

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… Continue Reading →

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, and Digital Wisdom

In 2001 Marc Pensky proposed the intriguing notion that our culture is now composed of digital natives and digital immigrants. He’s now expanded the concept to include digital wisdom (Pensky, 2009). Let’s explore the updated concept and its increasing cultural… Continue Reading →

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