Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Postive Brain Learns Best

Knowing about how the brain works -- and learns -- is valuable no matter what you want to teach. Of course, different subjects will have slightly different requirements, and writing is no different here.

In an interview, Judy Willis observes that a positive mindset makes learning much easier. This is true whether we are talking about writing or a new job's requirements.

One of the things she mentions is the inefficacy of "drill and kill." Too many interpret this as eliminating any and all repetition. However, without repetition, you cannot learn much of anything. Repetition is the soul of education. You repeat until you get it right. That's what it means to practice something. You have to repeat the same song(s) over and over and over and over and over until you learn the songs completely. Unless you do that, you will not and can not learn how to play the piano.

The issue is that learning has to be a positive experience if you want people to learn quickly and best. The right program will allow for the right kind of repetition and a positive learning environment. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Steven Pinker on Writing

Steven Pinker makes many of the same arguments I have on this blog about how to write well in an Edge interview. He points out that in order to write well, you have to be a reader and to learn, through reading, how to write well.
The first step to being a good writer is to be a good reader: to read a lot, and to savor and reverse-engineer good prose wherever you find it. That is, to read a passage of writing and think to yourself, … "How did the writer achieve that effect? What was their trick?" And to read a good sentence with a consciousness of what makes it so much fun to glide through.
There is much that writers can learn from psycholinguistics. The existence of rules is one. The flexibility of rules over time is another. Yet that flexibility is exactly that: over time. The rules are what they are at any given time. And, more, there are different rules for different audiences. Knowing what those are matter.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Khabele + Strong Incubator

There is a new school in Austin, TX that I hope will become the model for schools around the world. It is called the Khabele + Strong Incubator. It is being run by Khotso Khabele and Michael Strong, and the school is in fact part school and part entrepreneurial incubator. The school is all about both expanding students' minds and students' experiences.

So why am I talking about a new school in a consulting blog?

Because this school is -- or, should be -- the future of not only education, but of each person's continuing education. Businesses need to foster such an environment if they are going to be successful. This school is a model for what businesses ought to be doing within the businesses themselves, for their employees, if they want to be successful innovators in a rapidly changing economy with rapidly changing technology.