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How We Know

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. was Director of Mental Help Net from 1999 to 2011. Dr. Dombeck received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1995 ...Read More

I subscribe to Seed Magazine, which has as its motto, “Science is Culture”. It’s a beautiful thing and filled with interesting articles on a variety of scientific topics. Kind of like “Wired Magazine”, but more about science. This months’ issue (September, 2006) contains a great article called “How We Know”, by Jonah Lehrer, which I definitely recommend people read. It’s available online here. The article talks about ways that people learn, and how they don’t learn. The basic idea is that people learn by doing, and not by simply reciting. I couldn’t agree more. This isn’t a mental health article but there is certainly an application: You (or your child) could drive yourself crazy thinking you’re bad at learning things when really, you maybe could learn it if teachers would/could just teach differently than they do. Under “No Child Left Behind”, there is more emphasis on memorization than there is on critical inquiry and understanding, and memorization just doesn’t cut it.

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