Ep 145: How To Raise A Better Learner

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Getting teens to sit down and practice math can feel impossible. We go around in circles trying to convince them to practice the algebra portion of the SAT, or nag them after school to finish their calculus homework before turning on the XBox. No matter how many times we assure them that math skills are critical to a successful life, they just don’t seem to care! We can lead them to water, but we just can’t make them drink.

According to today’s guest, the secret to motivating math-reluctant teens might lie in cognitive science. In her recent work, she’s discovered and documented some fascinating findings about the complexities of the human mind. Specifically, she's gained some unique insights on the way humans learn. She’s here to tell parents how they can help kids not only master STEM material–but have fun doing it!

Her name is Barbara Oakley and she’s the author of both the bestselling A Mind For Numbers and the brand new Uncommon Sense: Teaching Practical Insights in Brain Science to Help Students Learn. Although she’s now a professor of engineering at Rochester College, she was once a student who struggled in science and math. When one of her own students prompted her to think critically about how she became a whiz at crunching numbers, she decided to dive into the neuroscience of learning to figure out how students can master math, even if they tend to lag behind.

In our interview, we’re discussing the difference between long term memory and working memory, and sharing how understanding these systems in our minds can help us become better learners. We’re also chatting about the importance of practice and how you can get kids to actually do it! In addition, we’re breaking down misconceptions about procrastination and how to motivate a teen who’s more interested in video games than cracking open the books...

Click for full show notes, exercises, and parenting scripts from this episode

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