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Speaker’s Notes: Peter C. Brown

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

On Thursday, November 17, we kicked off our 2016-2017 Speaker Series in honor of the class of 2016 by welcoming Peter C. Brown to Breck. Peter is the co-author of Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. The audience of fifty was given some preview work and a fillable form as they took their seats. They were asked, “Think about something you learned in school and currently know really well. Briefly describe it and list strategies that helped you learn it.” The three main points identified were:

Learning works by getting it out, not in.

Some difficulty is desirable.

A “growth mindset” motivates.

We shared with them that research has shown taking notes by hand helps with learning: ...taking notes by hand forces the brain to engage in some heavy “mental lifting,” and these efforts foster comprehension and retention. (Scientific American, June 3, 2014) Read the whole article here.

Peter spent the next ninety minutes expanding on the three main points and, along with Sarah Flotten and Daisy Pellant, shared ways we have put these research-based findings into action at Breck and ways parents can support using strategies at home. Prior to this evening, Peter had shared the book’s research with to our faculty and they shared applications from their classrooms. He also spent time working with our 7th and 8th graders co-presenting with Sarah Flotten. Peter remarked that our students “blew him away” with their knowledge of memory and learning and he was impressed that Breck is the first school to ask him to meet with students.

If you want to learn more, we recommend reading the book. It’s well written and easy to understand and apply. We have the faculty talk uploaded as a video here.