Currently viewing the tag: "learning"

Board meeting 2

My way of learning is to heave a wild and unpredictable monkey-wrench into the machinery. –The Maltese Falcon by Dashell Hammett

Fiction Writing Prompt: Add to your character sketch: what is your protagonist’s learning style? How does he or she feel about chaos as a way of getting information?

Journaling Prompt: Describe your favored learning style.

Art Prompt: How I Learn Best

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the basic learning styles and give them at least one way they can use this information to improve their lives.

Photo Credit: Larry Wentzel on Flickr


Everyone has learning difficulties, because learning to speak French or understanding relativity is difficult. –Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about someone with learning difficulties that are interfering in his or her life.

Journaling Prompt: What do you have trouble learning? How does that make you feel?

Art Prompt: Learning difficulties

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about learning styles and how they can learn more about their own styles.

Photo Credit: imagerymajestic on Free Digital Photos

Learn from Mistakes

We learn best from our own mistakes, but we tend to ignore the failures of others, which means we can’t learn from them. This is called survivorship bias: a logical error that shows that we tend to concentrate on success and overlook failures (which results in overly optimistic beliefs). –Thorin Klosowski

Fiction Writing Prompt: Put your protagonist in a situation where survivorship bias causes complications.

Journaling Prompt: What lesson did you have to learn from yourself?

Art Prompt: Survivorship Bias

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform your audience about survivorship bias and give them strategies to overcome it. 

Photo Credit: Search Engine People Blog on Flickr


Imagine traveling to Ireland and suddenly having to drive on the left side of the road. The brain, trained for right-side driving, becomes overburdened trying to suppress the old rules while simultaneously focusing on the new rules, said Hans Schroder, primary researcher on the study.
“There’s so much conflict in your brain,” said Schroder, “that when you make a mistake like forgetting to turn on your blinker you don’t even realize it and make the same mistake again. What you learned initially is hard to overcome when rules change.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene where your character is having difficulty adjusting to new rules.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you had difficulty adjusting to new rules.

Art Prompt: Driving on the wrong side of the road

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform you audience of techniques they can use when adjusting to new rules.

Photo Credit: {Amy_Jane} on Flickr

Stress Reduction

…researchers have found that when people are put under stress — by being told to hold their hand in ice water for a few minutes, for example, or give a speech — they start paying more attention to positive information and discounting negative information. “Stress seems to help people learn from positive feedback and impairs their learning from negative feedback,” Mather says.

This means when people under stress are making a difficult decision, they may pay more attention to the upsides of the alternatives they’re considering and less to the downsides. So someone who’s deciding whether to take a new job and is feeling stressed by the decision might weigh the increase in salary more heavily than the worse commute.

The increased focus on the positive also helps explain why stress plays a role in addictions, and people under stress have a harder time controlling their urges. “The compulsion to get that reward comes stronger and they’re less able to resist it,” Mather says. So a person who’s under stress might think only about the good feelings they’ll get from a drug, while the downsides shrink into the distance.

Stress also increases the differences in how men and women think about risk. When men are under stress, they become even more willing to take risks; when women are stressed, they get more conservative about risk. Mather links this to other research that finds, at difficult times, men are inclined toward fight-or-flight responses, while women try to bond more and improve their relationships. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a scene about a person making a decision in a stressful situation. Include the internal monologue.

Journaling Prompt: How do you make decisions when you are under stress?

Art Prompt: Stressful Decisions

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Inform your audience about the role of stress in decision making.

Photo Credit: Eamon Curry on Flickr

The innocence of a look ...

A majority of Americans rate their current financial situation as poor or fair, and nearly half of Americans say they have encountered financial problems in the past year, according to the Pew Research Center. A University of Missouri researcher studied how parents’ financial problems and resulting mental distress affect their relationships with their children. He found that parents who experience financial problems and depression are less likely to feel connected to their children, and their children are less likely to engage in prosocial behaviors, such as volunteering or helping others.

“The study serves as a reminder that children’s behaviors are affected by issues beyond their immediate surroundings,” said Gustavo Carlo, Millsap Professor of Diversity in the MU Department of Human Development and Family Studies. “Families’ economic situations are affected by broader factors in our society, and those financial problems can lead to depression that hurts parent-child relationships.”
Previous research has indicated that parent-child connectedness is an important indicator of prosocial behavior in children. Prosocial behaviors lead to moral development, better outcomes in relationships and enhanced performance at work and school.

Unlike previous research that has focused on high-risk and low-income families, Carlo and his colleagues studied middle- to upper-middle-class families. Parents and children answered questions about economic stress, depression and connectedness between parents and children. A year later, the children reported how often they engaged in prosocial behaviors toward strangers, family members and friends.
“Even middle-class families are having financial difficulties, and it’s affecting their ability to be effective parents,” Carlo said. “When parents are depressed, it affects their relationships with their kids.” –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene about a family under financial pressure from the child’s POV.

Journaling Prompt: Write about what you remember about your family’s finances during your childhood OR write about how your family is dealing with the economic pressures today.

Art Prompt: Too Many Bills!

Photo Credit: Claudio Gennari on Flickr


This was shared by Sue Ann Bowling at her Homecoming blog. Thanks Sue!

“Smart is only a polished version of dumb. Try intelligence.” Terry Pratchett, Unseen Academicals (Discworld)

Writing Prompt: Do a character sketch for one of your characters. Or create a new character. In what ways is your character smart? In what ways are they intelligent? how does your character use these traits in their everyday life? During a crisis?

Journaling Prompt: Are you smart, intelligent, or both? Write about your answer.

Art Prompt: Intelligence

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the difference between “smart” and “intelligent.” Give them strategies to become more intelligent.

Photo Credit: Meathead Movers on Flickr


Do you have any phobias? Not me. Oh no. I’m just absolutely fine with heights, spiders, and snakes.Oh my!

Fear is a natural mechanism for survival. Some fears — such as of loud noise, sudden movements and heights — appear to be innate. Humans and other mammals also learn from their experiences, which include dangerous or bad situations. This “learned fear” can protect us from dangers.

That fear also can become abnormally enhanced in some cases, sometimes leading to debilitating phobias. About 40 million people in the United States suffer from dysregulated fear and heightened states of anxiety.

“Studies show that light influences learning, memory and anxiety,” Wiltgen said. “We have now shown that light also can modulate conditioned fear responses.” –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: What is your character afraid of? Write a scene that shows when and how your character developed this fear.

Journaling Prompt: What are you afraid of? Why? When did it start? Describe the scene.

Art Prompt: Fear and Light

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about facing your biggest fear.

Photo Credit: angelocesare on Flickr


Before the written word, traditions and teachings were passed on through complicated dance, rituals and reenactments:

…hunt reenactments served a purpose greater than showing off. They were instructive. With expressive pantomime, and a few props, they demonstrated hunting techniques and tactics to youngsters and other clans. It was a way of developing and sharing skills. -Jean Auel, The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth’s Children, Book One)

Writing Prompt: Write a scene where a tradition or skill was passed on via reenactment.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when someone taught you something through demonstration.

Art Prompt: Hunt

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Teach your audience a lesson via re-enactment.

Photo Credit: Hans Splinter on Flickr

picture book

Kids love dogs. Dogs love kids. I don’t think the results of this study should surprise us at all. 
…second-grade students with a range of reading aptitudes and attitudes toward reading were paired with dogs — or people — and asked to read aloud to them once a week for 30 minutes in the summer of 2010.

At the end of the program, students who read to the dogs experienced a slight gain in their reading ability and improvement in their attitudes toward reading, as measured on the Curriculum-Based Measurement (CBM) and Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (ERAS), respectively — while those who read to people experienced a decrease on both measures.

Another surprising result was the high rate of attrition among students in the control group. Of the original cohort of nine, a third failed to complete the program. No students left the dog-reading group. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write about a dog helping a kid. Doesn’t have to be reading. Could be Lassie getting Timmy out of the well. Just work on that dog / kid relationship.

Journaling Prompt: What has your pet helped you learn?

Art Prompt: Kids and Dogs

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about a way that dogs help humans.

Photo Credit: catnipstudio on Flickr