If I learned any cognitive psychology in my school of ed days, I sure don't remember it today. I recall an EdPsych class, sure. I can picture the textbook still.
But the thing is, none of it seemed especially relevant to the problems I had to start solving as a student teacher. Problems like:
- How do you manage unruly classrooms?
- How do you design and facilitate a functional unit or lesson?
- How do you help students who are deeply unmotivated?
- How do you prioritize your non-instructional time so as to avoid workaholism?
These problems, in all their tangly thorniness, quickly became my obsessions. And rightly so. These are the problems that, left unsolved, drive droves of teachers from the profession each year.
But as my writing practice grew, I began solving these things.
- I got my classroom management under control, thanks to folks like Lynsay Fabio and Michael Linsin. This work culminated in the Classroom Management Course.
- I started figuring out simpler ways to think through units, lessons, and instruction reducing my most important work down to the “things” in These 6 Things.
- I dove deep into the research on student motivation, developing the Five Key Beliefs framework that I teach in my Student Motivation Course, The Will to Learn, and the Teacher Credibility Mini-Course.
- I apprenticed myself to various disciplines for time management, which I share in the Teacher Time Management Mini-Course.
But as I was doing all of this, a common through line in all of it was this topic I had underestimated (or maybe not encountered) in my school of ed days: cognitive science.
In all of these problem areas that I worked through, basic principles of learning were a consistent throughline.
Understanding how working memory works, for example — that's critical for classroom management, critical for student engagement, critical for helping kids grow in Efficacy. If you don't “get” the limitations of student working memory, you'll needlessly frustrate and demotivate them. You'll reach only some of them. And you'll wonder, Why?
And then there's the way long-term memory works. Basically, it's the closest thing us humans have to a superpower. It's the *why* behind all intellectual and creative achievements we've made since we started farming those thousands of years ago.
But what methods work best for helping our students develop robust knowledge bases in our content areas? Here again, I found that cognitive science had developed hard-and-fast answers that I was clueless about as an early career teacher.
I could go on and on — and in the next few weeks worth of blog posts, I will.
But at the same time, today I'm unveiling a BIG DEAL announcement: very soon, I'll be opening my first new comprehensive course in over five years.
Starting November 15, enrollment opens for the Principles of Learning Course, the latest from the mad scientist mind that you've come to know as your colleague, DSJR.
For now, I'll give you these details:
- I've taken all the science and reduced it into the 10 timeless principles that help me most as an educator.
- For each principle, I'll unpack three practical and powerful classroom applications that can be applied intelligently across the content areas.
- The first cohort will be open to only 250 folks, and those folks will receive an exclusive discount on the course's price.
- The list price of the course will be $249 per person, but folks in the first cohort will only pay $199.
- Registering for the course gives you lifetime, asynchronous access to all the lessons.
- As always, it's made by a teacher — me — for colleagues like you.
Here's the teaser video:
More to come.
P.S. If you want first dibs on one of those 250 spots, put your best email here. You'll get a 24-hour head start when course registration opens, putting you at the front of the line.