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How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens Hardcover – September 9, 2014
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“How We Learn makes for a welcome rejoinder to the faddish notion that learning is all about the hours put in. Learners, [Benedict] Carey reminds us, are not automatons.”—The New York Times Book Review
“The insights of How We Learn apply to far more than just academic situations. Anyone looking to learn a musical instrument would benefit from understanding what frequency and type of practice is most effective. Even readers with little practical use for Carey’s information will likely find much of it fascinating, such as how intuition can be a teachable skill, or that giving practice exams at the very beginning of a semester improves grades. How We Learn is a valuable, entertaining tool for educators, students and parents.”—Shelf Awareness
“How We Learn is more than a new approach to learning; it is a guide to making the most out of life. Who wouldn’t be interested in that?”—Scientific American
“Whether you struggle to remember a client’s name, aspire to learn a new language, or are a student battling to prepare for the next test, this book is a must. I know of no other source that pulls together so much of what we know about the science of memory and couples it with practical, practicable advice.”—Daniel T. Willingham, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and author of Raising Readers in an Age of Distraction
“How We Learn is as fun to read as it is important, and as much about how to live as it is about how to learn. Benedict Carey’s skills as a writer, plus his willingness to mine his own history as a student, give the book a wonderful narrative quality that makes it all the more accessible—and all the more effective as a tutorial.”—Robert A. Bjork, Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
“Fact #1: Your brain is a powerful and eccentric machine, capable of performing astonishing feats of memory and skill. Fact #2: Benedict Carey has written a book that will inspire and equip you to use your brain in a more effective way. Fact #3: You should use your brain—right now—to buy this book for yourself and for anyone who wants to learn faster and better.”—Daniel Coyle, bestselling author of The Talent Code
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Top Customer Reviews
A couple of take-aways--half-forgetting and then re-learning, especially by trying to remember, make the thing you are trying to learn really stick. So as a teacher, when I start class on Monday and ask students to recall what it was we were working on last Friday, that is not just review--that is learning. It would be best, I suppose, if instead of asking the whole class and letting one or two students do the hard work, I had everyone try their best to write down what the remember about passive voice or the subjunctive.
That brings up another great point that he makes--that testing, quizzing, and self-testing are highly effective ways not of evaluating but of actually learning. This helps to overcome what he calls the Fluency Illusion, and what I have long called the "smile-and-nod" level of understanding. IN other words, when the teacher is doing math problems on the board and you are watching, you understand--you smile and nod and think, ok, yeah, sure, I get it. It is only when the tables are turned and the teacher says, Ok, now you try it, that the gaps in understanding are revealed.
So if you are studying for a test on state capitals, let's say, and you see Georgia: Atlanta, you think right, sure. But it's not until someone says Georgia and you can say Atlanta that you actually know it.Read more ›
Repetition, according to Benedict, is a vital part in helping us to enhance the memory. We must train our brains, in a way, so that certain things we may forget become more and more routine to us. For example, I sometimes forget to lock all the doors in my house before going to sleep. If I am aware of this and practice locking the doors each and every night, soon enough it will become routine to me and I'll no longer forget to do it.
I read this book, in conjunction with Greg Frosts book, "Maximizing Brain Control : Unleash The Genius In You", and I'm starting to feel more confident and knowledgeable in learning about the human brain and how to store and retrieve information. Both are excellent resources and combined, can truly work wonders for you if you take them serious and truly want to enhance your brain capacity.
Good Habits is a key technique both books teach.Read more ›
I would have to say that someone who wants to be a great student ASAP is probably better off reading A Mind For Numbers first. That book takes you by the hand and leads you through the ideas about what you need to DO a lot more specifically. It makes very frequent references to research, but it's plainly written with the intention of being a guide for people who are taking and really need to hone in on exactly what to do NOW, because there are tests coming up. It leads you through the material by the hand, pretty much, asking you questions and reminding you to stop and think about what you've read. It also has a (free) online MOOC through Coursera to go with it that covers/reinforces the same material.
Fluent Forever, in its effort to teach people how to learn languages, makes use of some of the same research, but shapes it to its topic. It offers a sort of general idea of how you should proceed, but the emphasis is on giving you a basic plan and just enough understanding of the research so that you can make good decisions about how to move forward with it.
I feel like How We Learn is a little farther down the spectrum in that same direction.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Plain language explanation of complex brain research for the educator. Hits the target.Published 1 month ago by Martin Stessman
One of the best books about how the human brain learns that I've ever read - right up there with John Medina's "Brain Rules." Thank you, Mr. Carey! :-)Published 2 months ago by Sharon Bowman
I learned a lot about learning. Would help anybody in educational setting.Published 2 months ago by M. Campbell
Interesting info! Why don't we see more of these researched techniques used in secondary classrooms?Published 4 months ago by erick g. pryor
A lot of the learning techniques mentioned in the book were counter intuitive and goes against the grain of common sense. Which ironically makes a ton of sense to me😀Published 4 months ago by Abraham Menacherry
Now to just see if I can figure out how to apply what I've read! The author provides a good number of techniques and the scientific basis for using them.Published 5 months ago by Erika
I found the book relieving since it helped me discover many of the things I do as a student aren't wrong for learning and could even be desirable. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Álvaro