Engage students in the science of learning with two important questions

Let's get students involved. But how?

This morning, I Skyped with high school students in South Africa. (Wow!) And our conversation renewed my commitment to two things:

  1. We can – and must – engage students in the conversation around the science of learning.

  2. We can – and must – build connections with teachers and students around the world.

Read on for tips on how to build engagement and connections worldwide. In order to transform education, we need all hands on deck.


How to Engage Students in the Science of Learning

This morning, I had the amazing privilege to speak with student leaders from Imagine Scholars, a rural youth development program in the Mpumalanga province in South Africa. They were energetic, curious, and full of questions – ranging from sleep and growth mindsets, to retrieval practice and memory.

Before we wrapped up, I asked them two questions:

  1. What is one thing that comes to mind when you think about science?

  2. What is one thing that comes to mind when you think about learning?

As they were sharing, many students started laughing. "Retrieval!" someone shouted. Why were students so engaged? Because they were part of a conversation on the science of learning, not a lecture or structured activity. After our conversation, students proposed developing a workshop on the science of learning and presenting it to local teachers. Simply incredible!

In the classroom, don't dive straight into talking about retrieval, spacing, interleaving, etc. Ask some simple questions and start a discussion about retrieval in everyday life. You'll be surprised by what students have to say about science (one student mentioned lab coats), learning, and even the science of learning. Engage students for their benefit and for your own, too.


How to Build Connections Around the World

I was able to connect with students in South Africa thanks to Megan Nellis, Program Director at Imagine Scholar. We met through our FlipGrid Make it Stick group (password: makeitstick!) – it was as simple as that.

When it comes to learning about and implementing research-based strategies in your classroom, you're not alone. Social media is more than just social promotion. It's truly a way to connect with teachers from around the world. Teachers from Ecuador, Greece, Brazil – you name it! – are joining the conversation on TwitterFacebookFlipGrid, and even old fashioned email.

Will you join us and share your expertise? Let's engage in conversations outside the classroom, too!