Two Interesting Posts

Learning from Mistakes from Math Curmudgeon… Quoting from an article in Scientific American.

People remember things better, longer, if they are given very challenging tests on the material, tests at which they are bound to fail. In a series of experiments, they showed that if students make an unsuccessful attempt to retrieve information before receiving an answer, they remember the information better than in a control condition in which they simply study the information. Trying and failing to retrieve the answer is actually helpful to learning. It’s an idea that has obvious applications for education, but could be useful for anyone who is trying to learn new material of any kind.

You can read more here.

Learning to Write, an article from Digital Digs:

If I were to look at my early writing experiences, I would identify three contradictory practice.

For academic writing assignments that were uninteresting (i.e. most of them, not that there were many) my strategy was to take the path of least resistance. My English lit classes were all New Critical. I think there was one course where I needed to do library research. No process; no rough drafts; no revisions; barely any proofreading. And in return I would get a few checks in the margins with a comment like “Very Good” and then a letter grade. Looking back, I’m sure I was in a series of co-dependent literacy relationships where no one was paying much attention.
For interesting classroom assignments and the creative writing I was doing, I would essentially follow my own instincts and interests. I would experiment. And I wouldn’t care too much about the reception of the piece or the grade I received. Plenty of rethinking and playing around, but not for any extrinsic purpose. Only for my own pursuits. I’m not suggesting, btw, that this is a practice to imitate. But that’s what I did.
And then all the technical and professional writing I did, where I was writing to meet another person’s standards and the point was effective communication undertaken in an efficient manner. Here the idea was to avoid revision if possible, to work quickly, to operate within recognizable genres, and to steer away from unnecessary complications. In other words, in many respects this writing was opposite to the expectations of academic writing.

I recommend the whole thing.

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