Curriculum & Learning Theory
Resources for Mentors
As mentors to young scholars, it is important to leave the reins of the learning process in the control of our young scholars — allowing them to control the direction and pace of learning, in the moment. However, as responsible mentors, we must also ensure that they are encouraged and supported in their development of all the key skills and habits that they will need to successfully pursue their passion projects. Managing this delicate balance requires more than content knowledge and a bit of blind luck; it requires a basic understanding of the neurobiology of learning, and access to an appropriate array of well-designed curriculum materials. Here are a few resources you might find useful:
Articles on Learning by Larisa A. White, M.S.Ed., Ph.D.
- “Student Learning Is Facilitated” (the educational philosophy behind Quercus Academy)
- “Perfect Practice” (on the role of daily rehearsal in learning)
- “Polkadots & Sunbeams” (on the role of immediate memory in learning)
- “Tinker Toy Traffic” (an intro to working memory function)
- “Recess!” (on how to improve working memory function)
- “Explore Mode” (on how to avoid cognitive overload)
- “Nap Time” (on the role of sleep in long-term memory)
- “Burnt Pancakes” (on the role of failure in learning)
Recommended Books on Teaching & Learning
- “Learning All the Time” by John Holt. In this book, John Holt provides solid evidence showing that all small children are naturally, internally-driven learners and research scientists — until curiosity is driven out of them by well-intentioned adults. It suggests specific ways in which grown-ups can encourage and support this natural drive to learn.
- “How the Brain Learns” by David A. Sousa. One of a series of books by the same author, which present the most recent neuroscience pertaining to how the brain learns and remembers various skills and types of information. And it does so in very user-friendly language.
- “The Power of Habit,” by Charles Duhigg. A thorough look at the neuroscience behind habit formation and habit transformation in humans of all ages.