Learning a Language

Learning second, foreign, or other language as adult is not uncomplicated. First, we need to review what we actually know about learning languages, and learning them as an adult (as there is a significant difference between how children and adults learn languages). What we don't know about l;earning a language First off, we need to ... Read more

So Good They Can’t Ignore You

This book is badly in need of an editor. That is not surprising as it appears to be a collection of blog posts, but the redundancies and useless repetition truly get in the way of the important points. Also, stylistically the first person voice is also a bit pedantic. Agreed, the author points out that ... Read more

Power Law and Second Languages

The original formulation of Zipf's law was based on naturally occurring word frequencies and their rank order in a given English language corpus. For one example, merely 135 words accounted for 50% of the total word frequencies. This could be extended to phrases as well. For foreign language learners, this means that there is some ... Read more

Mnemonic Devices and Learning

On January 1, 2009 CNN published an article on memory. Now would be a good time to review and expand on that article, in the hopes of improving our own memory. It may be useful to conceive of the Art of Memory as having four broad application areas, a set of techniques (often called mnemonic ... Read more

Bezos and Jobs on Hiring

Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs have similar insights when it comes to hiring the best. This is equally relevant when one is building a school. Hire the best teachers possible, if you want a high-performing school. Three Questions When Making a Hiring Decision From the 1998 Amazon Shareholder Letter: It would be impossible to produce ... Read more

Shichida, Heguru, Right-Brain Scams

Shichida, Heguru and other so-called "right-brain" learning methods, to put it plainly, have no evidence for their efficacy, and in large part the theoretical statements they make about how the brain and learning works are largely discredited by current learning and brain development research. These kinds of so-called "schools" should be considered scams for the ... Read more

Maria Montessori Education

What is Montessori? I am a great fan of Maria Montessori and her ideas about education. That said, she is long-dead and the Montessori we have is not her ideas (though we do have her books) but rather a set of institutions, schools, and teachers. We must look closer to see clearly. Because Montessori is ... Read more

2016 Postmortem

Instead of a post about 2017, I want to postmortem 2016. It has been an enormous year of reckoning, being faced with previous decisions and facing them anew. Client chaos, a move into the suburbs, my son's development from months 2 to 14, and several injuries have made this a stressful year. In any case, ... Read more

Micro Course Content

I read a provocative article on Micro Course Content which was linked from an article on the (potential) rise of mobile learning. Note the word potential as we only really see smartphone adoption rate information, not actually micro course content adoption or success rates. > Side note: unclear why a learning company couldn't use the ... Read more