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A telling experiment reveals a big problem among college students: They don’t know how to study.

Why do kids drop out of college? Yes, some can’t afford to keep going with skyrocketing tuition costs. But as cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham explains in this piece, there are other reasons — and some of them are easily and inexpensively fixable before the students walk onto campus.

The Effects of Student Coaching in College

College completion and college success often lag behind college attendance. One theory as to why students do not succeed in college is that they lack key information about how to be successful or fail to act on the information that they have. We present evidence from a randomized experiment which tests the effectiveness of individualized student coaching. Over the course of two separate school years, InsideTrack, a student coaching service, provided coaching to students from public, private, and proprietary universities. Most of the participating students were non-traditional college students enrolled in degree programs. The participating universities and InsideTrack randomly assigned students to be coached. The coach contacted students regularly to develop a clear vision of their goals, to guide them in connecting their daily activities to their long term goals, and to support them in building skills, including time management, self advocacy, and study skills. Students who were randomly assigned to a coach were more likely to persist during the treatment period, and were more likely to be attending the university one year after the coaching had ended. Coaching also proved a more cost-effective method of achieving retention and completion gains when compared to previously studied interventions such as increased financial aid.

Start with Why: The power of student-driven learning

So often in education we focus on the wrong things. Test scores. Marks. Awards. Simon Sinek has it right. We need to start with why. So often we start with other things like the what (curriculum) and the how (instructional strategies). I’m not saying content isn’t important. I want my doctor, lawyer & accountant to all know their content. But we’ve lost sight that it’s what you do with the content that matters. Memorizing & regurgitating falls miserably short of equipping our students.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership — starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers ...

Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away

As laptops become smaller and more ubiquitous, and with the advent of tablets, the idea of taking notes by hand just seems old-fashioned to many students today. Typing your notes is faster — which comes in handy when there's a lot of information to take down. But it turns out there are still advantages to doing things the old-fashioned way.

How Memory, Focus and Good Teaching Can Work Together to Help Kids Learn

Everyone has a pet theory on how to improve public education: better professional development for teachers, more money, better curriculum, testing for accountability, teacher incentives, technology, streamlined bureaucracy. Policymakers have been trying these solutions for years with mixed results. But those who study the brain have their own ideas for improving how kids learn: focus on teaching kids how to learn.

Listening Isn’t Cheating: How Audio Books Can Help Us Learn

Audio books have surged in popularity in recent years, enabled by their ease of use and advancements in smart phones. Gone are the days of numbered cassettes and bulky players. Technology has created more opportunities to listen to good books.

The Ivy League, Mental Illness, and the Meaning of Life

William Deresiewicz explains how an elite education can lead to a cycle of grandiosity and depression.

How I Respect My Child’s Processing Speed in Our Fast-Paced World

As a child psychologist, I’ve worked with countless kids who are intelligent, but who process information at a slower pace. I’m not just a psychologist, however. I’m also a mom. And my 21-year-old son has processing speed issues (along withADHD).

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