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science-smart

The Science of Smart

Researchers have long been searching for better ways to learn. In recent decades, experts working in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have opened new windows into how the brain works, and how we can learn to learn better. In this program, we look at some of the big ideas coming out of brain science. We meet the researchers who are unlocking the secrets of how the brain acquires and holds on to knowledge. And we introduce listeners to the teachers and students who are trying to apply that knowledge in the real world.

Recent Posts

  • 08.20.14

    Variation is key to deeper learning

    Humans obviously learn a lot of things through trial-and-error. A level of "desirable difficulty" built into a learning and exam process appears to boost the overall retention of new skills or knowledge.
  • 08.19.14

    Learning to love tests

    If there's consensus on anything in education, it's this: Tests are awful. But maybe we've been thinking about tests all wrong. Research shows that tests can actually be powerful tools for learning -- but only if teachers use them right.
  • 08.19.14

    Paul Tough on how children succeed

    Paul Tough talks about his new book, How Children Succeed. He says it's character that matters when it comes to learning. Children need curiosity, optimism and self-control.
  • 08.18.14

    This is your brain on language

    For decades psychologists cautioned against raising children bilingual. They warned parents and teachers that learning a second language as a child was bad for brain development. But recent studies have found exactly the opposite.


in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Target poverty wages

File under: fair pay, living wage, income

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From: Kris J., Williston, OH

People who are forced to earn poverty wages do not contribute to a prosperous America. They are the working poor. Companies that pay these poor wages are undermining the prosperity of our nation. Yet the government contracts with these very companies for services and products. The government should insist that any company that gets a government contract must pay all its workers a fair living wage. "Jobs Well Done," a special report in the October 2010 issue of "The American Prospect," spells out this problem in several major industries (e.g., agriculture, food, trucking) and how living wages would be good for everyone, and in the end, reduce costs -- even if prices might rise modestly. These workers provide essential services. Do they not deserve fair pay? It is hard to understand how anyone can think that a race to the bottom caused by deregulation and lack of enforcement is of benefit to our economy.


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