In this issue of The Brilliant Report: Technological ignorance, Paul Tough's new book, neuronal recycling, and knowing when to grit.
Our technological ignorance, and more

“It’s time to admit we don’t know what we’re doing when it comes to educational technology.” So went the quote from cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham that started off my most-retweeted post from this week.

Other posts considered Paul Tough's new book, a study of how the brain recycles itself, and an article about knowing when to apply grit. Which do you find most interesting?

Our Technological Ignorance
“It’s time to admit we don’t know what we’re doing when it comes to educational technology.” So says Daniel Willingham, the brilliant University of Virginia cognitive scientist and author of my favorite book about education, Why Don’t Students Like School? In a piece in today’s New York Daily News, Dan continues: "History shows that perfectly sensible intuitions about how devices ought to work in classrooms often prove wrong . . . Our intuition, and even our common sense, tricks us when deciding whether a new gadget will help kids learn.” So what should we do instead? I find myself reaching back to a study I wrote about a few years ago on the Brilliant Blog. The point made by that study is as valid now as it was back then, so I’m reproducing the post here in full: [READ MORE HERE]

All You Need To Know About Parenting and Teaching
Many of you, I’m sure, read or heard about Paul Tough’s 2012 book How Children Succeed. In that book, Tough focused on a group of factors often referred to as noncognitive or “soft” skills—qualities like perseverance, conscientiousness, self-control, and optimism. Later this month, a follow-up to How Children Succeed will be published. It’s titled Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why, and it is a marvel: a universe of research distilled into just over a hundred pages. With gracefulness and economy, Tough sums up (almost) all we need to know about parenting and teaching: [READ MORE HERE]

How Your Brain Recycles Itself So You Can Learn
In the era when the human brain took shape, hundreds of thousands of years ago, there were no physics professors, no physics lectures, no physics textbooks. (I know—hard to believe.) Today we carry around basically the same mental equipment as our long-ago ancestors, but we expect ourselves to do all kinds of novel things, including learning academic science. New research reveals how that’s possible—and suggests why it’s often so hard to do: [READ MORE HERE]

Know When To Grit
At a moment when everyone seems to be writing and talking about grit, I appreciated an article in Slate by Daniel Engber for its nuanced consideration of when grit is important. The fulsome coverage of Angela Duckworth’s research makes it sound as if grit is an all-purpose, always-necessary attribute of the successful person. Engber’s judgement is more careful: Grit matters, he writes, “but only in specific situations that require strength of will.” The most important thing about grit may be knowing when and how to apply it: [READ MORE HERE]

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Tech ignorance, Paul Tough's new book, neuronal recycling, and knowing when to grit—this week's Brilliant Report:

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