Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning
Brain Fact Friday on ”The Neuroscience of Learning”

Brain Fact Friday on ”The Neuroscience of Learning”

September 30, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast for Brain Fact Friday and EPISODE #167 on “The Neuroscience of Learning” that was inspired with an upcoming interview with cognitive neuroscience researcher John Harmon, who will take us through how learning happens in the brain as well as understanding what happens when performing a task (like throwing a football) while under stress.

In Today’s Brain Fact Friday, You Will Learn:

✔︎ The two most important ingredients required for learning and how they relate to your brain.

✔︎ Why being a know-it-all will get you nowhere when it comes to teaching and learning.

✔︎ How to use self-reflection to become more self-aware of your own learning process.

I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments with ideas that we can all use, understand and implement immediately.

This week, while preparing for our upcoming interviews, I had the opportunity to stop and think before writing this week’s Brain Fact Friday. Sometimes life is so busy, that we miss this opportunity to reflect on where we began, and where we are going, and just peddle forward without this reflection, missing some powerful moments of learning. Whatever it is that you are working on, take a minute to look back to where you started. It will help you to see how far you have come, and give you boost that I’m sure you could use at this moment. This will create momentum to help propel you forward, while increasing your own self-confidence with this self-reflection. This is actually a question in Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Planner[i] that was written based on the world’s largest study of high performers and how they increase productivity and win.

When looking at where we started with this podcast, June 2019, I thought back to some of the earlier episodes and remember before I was 100% comfortable with this topic, I would spend a lot of time preparing for interviews, reading EVERY book the person had written and carefully crafting their questions. Looking back now, I know it was because I wanted to be prepared, but I also didn’t want to appear like I didn’t know what I was talking about. Listening to these old episodes is another story, and not easy to do because we can easily pick up many areas that needed to be improved, (content as well as technical) but we must all start somewhere, and progress happens when we do. We can all benefit from looking back to day 1 of whatever we are working on- what can you LEARN from this?

Once you have looked at where you began, look at where you are now, so I fast-forwarded to episode #144 that was recorded this past summer with Tom Beakbane,[ii] on “How to Understand Everything” and episode #146 with expert in psychology, cognitive neuroscience and neurotechnology, Dr. Howard Rankin, Ph.D.[iii] on “How Not to Think” I started to realize that it was ok that I didn’t understand everything and saying so was freeing. I stopped reading every single book written by the person to be interviewed and stuck to their most recent and relevant book. While being prepared is important to me, I still practice interview questions, but stopped overdoing it, and think that this new awareness made me more relaxed with this whole process.  Self-awareness goes a long way and anything we can learn to help us to improve is something we should take note of.  I wonder if anything stuck out for you when looking back at where you first began to where you are now?

With this new awareness, I was finally comfortable enough to invite someone on the podcast whose work in this new field of neuroscience still puzzles me. It’s not like I could even explain what he does with his work, without reading his BIO but John Harmon said it best himself while preparing for his interview, when he mentioned to me that “understanding a subject and explaining it are two different things.” This lit up a whole bunch of lights for me.

I remember recently talking about this same concept with Chey and Pav[iv] on their podcast[v] this summer about teaching, learning and leadership when they were talking about how a math teacher can practice problems they know how to solve over and over again with students, and get caught up in forgetting how to “teach” a new concept because they are using rote memory.  This math teacher began trying to solve problems with the class that they had not yet practiced. This is effortful, with some risk involved, especially if we fail. We risk “not knowing the answer” or “looking less than intelligent in front of others.”

So with these learning lessons in mind, for this week’s Brain Fact Friday, I want to focus on how we learn.

We did cover a whole episode #161[vi] with John Almarode, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey on their new book How Learning Works[vii] that unpacks the science of how students learn and translates that knowledge into promising principles or practices that can be implemented in the classroom or utilized by students on their own learning journey that I do recommend this episode and their book.

But for this Week’s Brain Fact Friday—Did You Know That “Learning Changes the Brain?” and that “Moderate Stress is Beneficial for Learning?”[viii]

So when I was reflecting back on the podcast, with what we have learned over the past couple of years, it was actually changing my brain. When I asked you to think about what you have learned since day 1 of whatever it is you are working on, it created a new neural pathway in your brain, and changed it as well.

Learning Changes the Brain: From the point of view of neurobiology, learning involves changing the brain. We have mentioned on previous episodes that neuroplasticity, or how the brain “changes in response to a stimuli”[ix] happens when we are able to create an environment for learning that is free of distractions, allowing for breaks where we can have those Aha! Moments where we know and understand what we are learning and this actually produces new neurons which is called neurogenesis.

18-Metacognition_copy87fn7.jpg

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, from episode #100[x] who covered “The Neuroscience of Social and Emotional Learning” reminds us that “Learning is a very active process—not one of investigating and retaining like a squirrel ingests nuts or a file drawer stores information.”  Immordino-Yang, a professor of education, psychology and neuroscience at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education explains that “life exposes a brain to a limitless ocean of information. Even if a person manages to memorize a portion of it—to squirrel it away—it does them little good unless they can access it at the right moment and apply it to real-world contexts. Which is what I did when I realized that saying I didn’t understand everything really made an impact on how I’m preparing for future interviews, and whatever you uncovered should have an impact on what you do moving forward. That’s learning in action.

The task of learning is to transform some of that information into knowledge that can be used and acted upon”[xi]  and this is what creates new neural pathways in the brain, that causes the brain to change with each new experience or pathway built.

Moderate Stress is Beneficial for Learning: We also must understand that moderate stress is beneficial for learning, while mild and extreme stress are detrimental to learning. When I first began presenting on the impacts of stress on learning and the brain, all too often we would talk about stress reduction techniques, since it’s true that too much stress can cause brain shrinkage, but the right amount of stress can promote learning. Since we are all different, what could be considered to be moderate stress for one person, could be severe for another, so each person needs to find their own balance of stress that in turn motivates them.

Stress_Learning_and_the_Brain_copy6g17f.jpeg

You can see the infographic in the show notes with 12 ways to combat stress that came from my presentation with educators on Stress, Learning and the Brain[xii] but this week’s Brain Fact Friday made me think about how it’s important to find the right level of challenge or stress to motivate each person towards improved performance.

If we know that learning changes the brain, and that moderate stress is beneficial for learning, what else can we do to facilitate learning?

Two Key Ingredients for Learning: While researching, I found two key ingredients for learning: motivation or a willingness to learn, and the importance of a cognitively stimulating environment.

Motivation or Willingness to Learn[xiii] is the starting point to learning anything new. “One way to motivate the brain is to expose it to anything new and unfamiliar.” (Page 13, The Science of Learning, How We Learn).

When I think about some of the articles I read on the topic of neuroscience that go over my head, there is something inside me that causes me to stop and figure out the meaning one step at a time. When you have a clear “why” behind what you are learning, it’s easier to put in the time and effort needed. “The ability to learn new things, whether that’s calculus, or hitting a fast ball, or studying neuroscience, requires stretching the brain past the point of what’s familiar or comfortable.” (Page 12, The Science of Learning, The Ways We Learn).  I remember students always asking me “why do I need to know this? How does this apply to the real world” and while the real-world application is important, I think that understanding how we are learning is the key to future success. Once we know how we learn best as individuals, we can learn anything and the opportunities we can create for ourselves are limitless.

Raising Our Next Generation in a Cognitively Stimulating Environment[xiv] is another key ingredient for learning where we ask our children/students challenging questions that make them think instead of just sitting them down in front of the television, video games or computers. “Children who grow up in cognitively stimulating and linguistically rich environments tend to be more sophisticated in their knowledge of the world and their ability to grasp things.”[xv] As a parent, this one always catches me off guard, as there are many times that my children make a mess of the house creating forts to play in, and I have to remember to let them create these stimulating environments (for them) and suspend my need order in the home. When I sit back, watch and ask questions about their forts, there is always a story behind them, that goes much deeper than what I could ever imagine. It’s also those times when we don’t have access to WIFI that this type of creativity flows. When we spend more time in nature, walking together, laughing, and playing, we learn so much about each other away from our usual school or work environments. It’s just being aware of how to create these stimulating environments to be sure that we are always encouraging learning to take place.

Immordino-Yang reminds us that “education is not about hammering facts, procedures, and information into a person’s memory; it’s about building mental skills and dispositions that will help people learn and succeed throughout life.”[xvi] While practicing math skills certainly has its place, so does walking through a forest and letting the imagination and creativity flow.

Immordino-Yang’s work with students in Montessori schools also revealed many differences versus traditional schools, specifically that “Montessori students were more effective at directing their own learning” and that “they seemed more comfortable with not knowing things--which are characteristics that seem to correlate with improved learning at any age.”[xvii]

Which brings this week’s brain fact Friday into a close.  It’s ok to not know all of the answers but when presented with something new and unfamiliar, we now have 2 new strategies to increase our own motivation (as well as for our students/children) and hold our attention, stretch our brain past the point of what’s familiar, to the unfamiliar—which is how learning takes place. It is not easy, it takes time and effort, but we all have the ability to use an understanding of our brain, to improve our ability to learn.

See you next week!

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreasamadi  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreasamadi/ 

 

REFERENCES:

[i] Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Planner November 2, 2018 https://www.amazon.com/High-Performance-Planner-Yellow/dp/1401957331/ref=asc_df_1401957331/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312674808447&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=12785229814380293351&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9030091&hvtargid=pla-570847548926&psc=1

[ii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #144 with Tom Beakbane on “How to Understand Everything” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/author-and-marketer-tom-beakbane-on-how-to-understand-everything-consilience-a-new-way-to-look-at-the-world/

[iii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #146 with Dr. Howard Rankin on “How Not to Think” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/expert-in-psychology-cognitive-neuroscience-and-neurotechnology-howard-rankin-phd-on-how-not-to-think/

[iv] https://www.cheyandpav.com/

[v] Chey and Pav Summer Series with Andrea Samadi https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-summer-series-with-andrea-samadi/id1479094332?i=1000530611931

[vi] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #161 with John Almarode, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey “How Learning Works” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/johnalmarodedouglas-fisherand-nancyfreyon-how-learning-works-translatingthescience-oflearningintostrategiesformaximum-learning-inyourclassroom/

[vii] How Learning Works: A Playbook by John Almarode, (James Madison University, Douglas Fisher (San Diego State University) and Nancy Frey (San Diego State University). https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/how-learning-works/book279410#description

[viii] Neuroscience and How Students Learn article based on a talk by Daniela Kaufer Berkeley  https://gsi.berkeley.edu/gsi-guide-contents/learning-theory-research/neuroscience/

[ix] IBID

[x] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #100 on “The Neuroscience of Social and Emotional Learning” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/professor-mary-helen-immordino-yang-on-the-neuroscience-of-social-and-emotional-learning/

[xi] Time Magazine Special Edition The Science of Learning Page 12

[xii] https://www.achieveit360.com/level-up-for-educators-neuroscience-meets-sel/

[xiii] Time Magazine Special Edition The Science of Learning Page 13

[xiv] Time Magazine Special Edition The Science of Learning Page 14

[xv] IBID

[xvi] IBID

[xvii] IBID

Brain Fact Friday on ”The Neuroscience of Leadership: Using Your Brain to Lead Others More Effectively”

Brain Fact Friday on ”The Neuroscience of Leadership: Using Your Brain to Lead Others More Effectively”

September 23, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast for Brain Fact Friday and EPISODE #165 on “The Neuroscience of Leadership: Using Your Brain to Lead Others More Effectively” that was inspired by a conversation I had on the phone with our next guest, whose interview will be recorded today, and released over the weekend.  You will need to tune into our next episode to hear who he is, but I can say that he is with his 6th season with the NY Jets (football) and his 4th year teaching leadership at NYU which led him to our podcast. When speaking with him, he mentioned had found our episode #68[i] “The Neuroscience of Personal Change with Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” when he was looking for ideas for his leadership class at NYU and liked how we had added the brain science to Covey’s best-seller that has sold more than 25 million copies since its first publication. When we hung up, I thought about the fact that Covey’s book impacted so many people around the world, but since it was first published in 1989 he was missing something critical to our next generation of leaders: an understanding of the Leading Brain, which let me to think about our good friend Friederike Fabritius all the way back to EPISODE #27[ii] who wrote The Leading Brain: Neuroscience Hacks to Work Smarter, Better, Happier for this week’s Brain Fact Friday.

In Today’s Brain Fact Friday, You Will Learn:

✔︎ Why Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is WRONG when it comes to Neuroscience.

✔︎ What IS the Neuroscience of Leadership?

✔︎ The Best Ways to Lead with the Brain in Mind in our Schools and Workplaces.

✔︎ How to Reach Peak Performance or Flow with our Work.

✔︎ What Too Much, or Too Little Stress Does to the Brain.

For those who are new here, I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments. My vision for this podcast is to bring the experts to you, share their books, resources and ideas to help you to implement their proven strategies, and take the fear out of this new field of educational neuroscience. My hope is that this podcast will bridge the gap between the science, theory, and application of these ideas for improved results in your life.

Our next few interviews coming up are exciting for me, as they all demonstrate just how important and timely this understanding of the brain is for all of us to learn and apply whether we are a teacher in the classroom or using these ideas in a corporate environment, as an employee, or CEO in a leadership role, an understanding of how our brain works is critical these days. With each episode we release, connections are made to past episodes and the learning builds just like we were taking a course together. If you are new here, go back through the episodes and see if there are ones that catch your eye. Take notes and think about how you could best apply the strategies suggested in each episode. I promise you this will be life changing when we begin to live our lives with our brain in mind.

For this Week’s Brain Fact Friday, I’m going back to the first lesson I saw on The Leading Brain, by Friederike Fabritius that was published on YouTube Dec.11th, 2016[iii] where she explains why an understanding of the brain is important for a group of business leaders. She begins her presentation by quizzing the group to see what they know about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs[iv] to see what they can remember about this model that is “a motivational theory in psychology comprising of a five-tier model of human needs”[v]  that begins with the need of food, water, sex, and sleep. Once these needs are met, we desire safety (and you can think about how important it is for our students to feel safe in our schools, or employees in the workplaces-without this safety, learning or new ideas cannot take place), and once we feel this safety, we start to form friendships/relationships, leading to our self-esteem and confidence to increase, which in turn leads to self-actualization, or the attainment of whatever our goals are.

Maslow_copy6cqf8.png

But looking at how we operate through the lens of neuroscience, Maslow’s Model is completely incorrect.

For this week's Brain Fact Friday, did you know that there’s a new model in Neuroscience, that replaces Maslow’s Model, explaining Social Cognitive Neuroscience where “without relationships, we cannot survive” (Friederike Fabritius) and that “connectedness regulates and rewards us.” (Dr. Bruce Perry).

Friederike explains that Maslow’s tier of Love/Belonging or friendship, family, and sexual intimacy are 3rd in his chosen ranks,  but when we look at how the brain operates, this is the #1 most important tier, that’s more important than food and water and she offers a new model of Social Cognitive Neuroscience that explains how without relationships, we cannot survive.

I thought about our upcoming interview with Dr. Bruce Perry (next month) on his book written with Oprah What Happened to You and he talks about how “connectedness regulates and rewards us” with his Filling our Rewards Bucket concept where he noted that “many people found it harder to fill up during the COVID-19 pandemic; people reported more anxiety and depression, and many people used some of the less healthy forms of reward (like drugs/alcohol) to fill that void”[vi] so understanding this new model of Social Cognitive Neuroscience can help us all to lead more effectively in our schools and workplaces.  We will dive deeper into Dr. Bruce Perry’s model with our interview, but you can see from the image in the show notes that explains how the brain processes information from the bottom up, and that regulation must occur before any reasoning or reflecting can take place in the upper regions of the brain (or prefrontal cortex).

Bruce_Perry_copyanry6.png

IMAGE SOURCE: Dr. Bruce Perry’s Neurosequential Network.

So why is this so important for us to understand as leaders (in our workplaces or schools?) It’s because if we are not regulated, it will shut down our executive functions in our prefrontal cortex and we won’t be operating at our highest levels.

How to Lead with the Brain in Mind?

It Begins with Putting Relationships First: Scrap Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and start thinking of Dr. Bruce Perry’s upside-down triangle where he puts regulation at the bottom. Everything should begin with building relationships to make our students feel safe/regulated in the classroom, or our employees feel safe/regulated in our corporate spaces. If you are working in the classroom, go back to the very beginning of this podcast and visit the episode with Greg Wolcott,[vii] the author of Significant 72: Unleashing the Power of Relationship’s in Today’s Schools for ideas and resources that you can use right away. You can also access many free ideas and resources directly from his website https://www.significant72.com/

If you are working in the corporate environment, there is no one better than Simon Sinek to inspire leadership, starting with his book Start With Why, which challenges assumptions about how great leaders and great companies inspire people, but also his book Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. I met Simon in 2014 where we traded books and I keep my signed copy of Leaders Eat Last on my desk to remind me of this ancient yet powerful principle.

After Simon Sinek wrote his first book, and began travelling the world, he noticed that very few people said “I love my job” and he wanted to do something to inspire this in organizations around the world since he was able to inspire millions with his Start With Why book. When he travelled around the globe, he noticed that “some teams were able to trust each other so deeply, they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives were offered, were doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure” (Leaders Eat Last Front Cover Flap) and the answer became clear to him with a discussion of a Marine Corps General who said “Officers eat last” and Sinek witnessed the most junior Marines eating first, while Senior Marines waited at the back of the line. Think about this from Maslow’s point of view, that biologically, we need food and shelter first, but when we operate with the brain in mind, we suspend our need for this urge, and put relationships first, stepping back and modeling “Leaders Eat Last.”

Simon_Sinek_copy9qlvs.jpeg

Andrea Samadi with Simon Sinek in 2014 (Infusionsoft Conference). 

Putting it into Action

Have you ever noticed this principle in play? I have, and I will never forget it. It was back when I was working at a school in the West End of Toronto (Emery CI) and the PE teacher organized a canoe trip up North for students. I went on the trip as a chaperone, not realizing how cold it was to sleep outside in the spring time, I remember almost dying in my tent at night and in the morning when the group began cooking meals, I sat back, and watched the students, wondering if anyone else was frozen to death like I was, and I noticed one young boy from Vietnam, who sat back from the group when food was being served. He let everyone pass him in line, and I asked him why he didn’t grab a plate and some food, and he shook his head and said, “I eat last” and I remember it being profound to me that he sat back, and waited, while all others rushed forward to eat.  He had learned in his culture the importance of not giving in to his immediate needs, which we all know leads to future success in life with the famous Stanford Marshmallow experiment. I wish I could find this young man and see where he ended up, but I don’t really need to. I know he’s leading somewhere.

To review this week’s Brain Fact Friday, that explains a new model in Neuroscience, that replaces Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, explaining that “without relationships, we cannot survive” (Friederike Fabritius) and that “connectedness regulates and rewards us.” (Dr. Bruce Perry) I hope we can all begin to think with our brain in mind, on the ways we can help others in our schools or workplaces to feel more connected. Only then can we begin to work towards our goals, or self-actualization.

Next Steps:

Only once our basic needs of building and maintaining strong relationships are met, can we move towards your goals with this safety net in place.

In our podcast #27 with Friederike Fabritius, we covered the DNA of success or peak performance which is that brain state where we lose the presence of time and are the most productive. She mentioned the importance of having fun with your work, releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine, having just enough fear or a challenge to release the neurotransmitter noradrenaline and that with these two factors, focus will occur, and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine will be released. These three factors must be in place for peak performance to occur and when we hit this level of performance, it’s important that we are able to manage our distractions so that we can stay here for as long as possible for those higher levels of productivity.

We must be careful on our quest towards our goals that we keep the right balance with our stress levels. Too little stress, we go into a state of under-arousal where we are under challenged and could be bored with our work, and too much stress leads us to over-arousal where we are prone to work burn-out and depression. This state depletes the serotonin in the brain and we begin to see threats where there are none. The more you go into work burn-out, the more negative you become, so keeping the balance of peak performance where you experience flow (lose track of time with your work) and alternate this time with rest/recovery is important for your mental and physical well-being.

To conclude this week’s Brain Fact Friday, I hope that you can see how old models like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs have become outdated when we begin to operate with our brain in mind, and that we can apply the most current brain science to anything we are doing, like I did with Covey’s 7 Habits book. Once we know how our brain works, we can then work backwards and change what we are doing so that it works with our brain in mind.

Do you see how can you use this NEW Social Cognitive Model in your school or workplace? How can you put relationships first to regulate your students and co-workers? Go back and look at Greg Wolcott’s episode for those working in the classroom, and for those in the corporate world, read Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last for some new ideas.

I will see you over the weekend with our episode #166 that will take our understanding of leadership into the pro sports world and then next week, will speak with independent researcher John Harmon on how our actions, thoughts and intentions all map out in the brain, especially while under pressure.

Have a good weekend!

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreasamadi  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreasamadi/ 

 

RESOURCES:

https://simonsinek.com/

https://www.significant72.com/ 

REFERENCES:

[i] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #68 “The Neuroscience of Personal Change with Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/the-neuroscience-of-personal-change/

[ii] The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #27 with Friederike Fabritius on “The Recipe for Achieving Peak Performance”  https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/pioneer-in-the-field-of-neuroleadership-friederike-fabritius-on-the-recipe-for-achieving-peak-performance/

[iii] Friederike Fabritius “Neuroleadership: A New Approach” YouTube Published Dec. 11th, 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2g4XhlLZ5ak

[iv] Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs https://psychology.wikia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs

[v] Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

[vi] What Happened to You by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Published April 27, 2021 https://www.amazon.com/What-Happened-You-Understanding-Resilience/dp/1250223180

[vii]The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #7 with Greg Wolcott on “Building Relationships in Today’s Classrooms”  https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/greg-wolcott-on-building-relationships-in-todays-classrooms/

Brain Fact Friday on ”How to Read the Emotions of Others in Our Schools, Sports and Classroom Environments”

Brain Fact Friday on ”How to Read the Emotions of Others in Our Schools, Sports and Classroom Environments”

September 16, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast for Brain Fact Friday and EPISODE #164 that ties back into our interview released this week, episode #163 with Dr. Dan Hill on “Facial Coding: How to Read the Emotions in Others” since there was so much he explained in that interview that I think is important for all of us to think about, and dig deeper with, whether we are using these ideas in our schools, sports environments or workplaces.

For those who are new here, I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of you listening, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments with ideas that we can all use, understand and implement immediately. My vision for this podcast is to bring the experts to you, share their books, resources and ideas to help you to implement their proven strategies and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t hear from someone who has found this information to be important and useful in their life. Thank you for the feedback. We can all use motivation at times.

If you take a quick look through our episodes that began in June 2019, you will notice this podcast draws many high-level guests who have spearheaded the understanding of how our brains works, tied to social and emotional learning (in our schools or sports environments) or emotional intelligence (as it’s called in our workplaces) to help us to all improve our results.  This has always been the goal of the podcast that was originally going to be a course for an educational publisher, until a turn of events caused me to decide to release my best work with the hopes it would help those who are looking to implement the most current brain research into their work. This is just the beginning of the vision I have but can clearly see that this is a topic that holds an international interest, so I will continue to create content to help us to all understand and implement this research in the new field of educational neuroscience.

In Today’s Brain Fact Friday, You Will Learn:

✔︎ The Top Emotions Dr. Hill Looks for when using his Facial Coding System to Read Others.

✔︎ How to Apply Facial Coding in Your Classroom, Workplace or Sports Teams.

✔︎ What We Should All Know, Understand and Look for With Other People’s Emotions.

 

Which Leads us to This Week’s Brain Fact Friday:

After editing and re-listening to Dr. Dan Hill, from episode #163, I had 2 major takeaways.

 

THE PIVOT: The first takeaway I had was that Dr. Hill pioneered a successful career using facial coding, when he had to pivot his career focus in his early years. Many of us listening would recognize and understand this pivot, as we have done it in our own careers ourselves. Back in my early days as a teacher (I was trained by the Raptor’s Coach as a Level 1 Technical Coach) and the pivot is something you never forget. If you remember it on a basketball court, it’s a hard turn, where you stop and shift directions quickly and suddenly, turning your back to your original direction. This is exactly what Dr. Hill had to with his career and reminded me of mine. I had to learn how the brain works in 2014 when an educator sat me down and gave me the most valuable feedback I have ever received, and I know that the pandemic caused many of my friends and colleagues to also make some sort of shift with their work. Have you ever had to make a pivot?

Last week I heard from someone I am working on bringing on the podcast who works in the field of professional sports, with a well-known sports team that I hear about daily, since it’s my husband’s favorite team and this person also made a noticeable pivot in their career towards leadership when he recognized that lifelong learning was his ticket for future success, bringing him to this podcast to see what else he could learn. We connected on LinkedIn, and when we spoke on the phone, immediately connected. I was honored that he was listening, and he was honored that I had asked him if he would be a guest on the show to share how he made his pivot towards lifelong learning and the impact that had on his life. Stay tuned, as I’m hoping we can make this interview happen quickly.

 

USING FACIAL CODING: Dan Hill’s episode also taught me a lot about how we can all use an understanding of facial coding or reading the emotions in others in our life that originated from the work of Dr. Paul Ekman,[i] an American psychologist and professor emeritus at the University of California who was ranked 59th out of 100 most cited psychologists of the 20th century, whose work was behind the popular TV Series Lie to Me.[ii]

Dan_Hill_186xs2.png

IMAGE SOURCE: https://www.paulekman.com/amp/

If you have not listened to episode #163, go back and listen to it before you go on with this one.

This week’s Brain Fact Friday, I want to share the tips that Dr. Hill noted were helpful when reading the emotions of someone he is looking to recruit for a sports team, or to think about how this could be used in the classroom to identify a student who might be lost or what emotions would make someone a valuable team player in the workplace. If we can learn to recognize the emotions in others, the result will be that we can also recognize emotions in ourselves, which was the idea behind the work of the Founder of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Marc Brackett and his book, Permission to Feel[iii] who was one of our early interviews.

For this week’s Brain Fact Friday---

Did you know that it’s possible to increase your emotional awareness to help you to be more successful in life, happier in your marriage, be an expert at handling your kids, a better manager at work, a more effective coach in sports, a better hiring manager, close more sales, or negotiate a better deal for yourself just by understanding how to read someone else’s facial expressions? You can learn more from Dr. Dan Hill on this topic through his books and website[iv],  but for this week’s Brain Fact Friday, I will summarize what Dr. Hill looks for whether he is picking a player for a pro sports team or looking for a student who is lost in the classroom, or someone feeling isolated and alone in the corporate environment.

Tips for Using Facial Coding in Sports, the Classroom and Modern Workplaces:

When Dr. Hill was asked to help the Milwaukee Bucks to recruit players that would be a good fit for their team, he mentioned there were some key emotions he was looking for.

1. Happiness: This emotion was easy to spot with a Duchenne Smile[v], which is an expression that signals true enjoyment. This type is smile is contagious and lights up a room. You can’t miss that twinkle in someone’s eye. Dr. Hill looks for this sign when recruiting players because it correlates to someone who is coachable, solutions oriented, embraces others, is embraced by them, could connect to others, and build a sense of community.

BE AWARE OF: A fake smile that lingers too long, or comes and goes too quickly, or an asymmetrical smile that some people would say shows insincerity but could also signify this person has complicated thoughts going on.

2. Anger: Hill looks for someone to have a degree of anger. Not crazy anger, but enough that suggests they are driven and could be in control of their own destiny, making progress towards their goals. Michael Jordan shows anger which Dr. Hill says shows his focus and determination.

BE AWARE OF: Those who are unable to calm themselves down when their blood starts to boil. Anger can be a good thing, especially when its expressed, but be careful not to hold anger inwards as this can impact our health.[vi] Learn stress relieving strategies like deep breathing and meditation to calm the amygdala and bring balance back to the prefrontal cortex, or our decision-making part of our brain.

3. Contempt: Hill says there is a fine line with this emotion that can often point towards confidence/swagger, but it can also suggest that you think you are above others, which wouldn’t make you the best teammate, or someone who would take the advice of a coach.

BE AWARE OF: This emotion is according to John Gottman[vii], is the #1 predictor why a marriage will fail. That smirk means I don’t respect or trust you. In a sports environment, you can see it in Jay Cutler’s image that could show his confidence (first picture) but added to dislike, can also show that mediocrity is beneath him.

Jay_Cutler_Chicago_Bears91mp0.png

4. Disgust: Correlates well with someone who has a drive to succeed, like in Jay Cutler’s example above, that mediocrity is below them or disgusts them and he wants to get to that next level.

BE AWARE OF: That a player like this might not make the best teammate, but they do make excellent CEOS with that drive for success.

5. Sadness: Worries Dr. Hill and he sees an inverse correlation with sadness in sports because it slows you down mentally and physically. This emotion he says is a liability.

BE AWARE OF: The fact that this emotion is a sign that you have lost connection, and whether on a sports team, in a classroom or workplace, needs intervention.

6. Confusion Mixed with Fear: Hill warns this emotional mix is cause for concern in the classroom as this student is lost and would need immediate intervention.

7. Inability to Feel Empathy: When working on murder trials, this emotion was something he noticed. For someone who can read faces, usually you can pick up micro expressions, but these were notably missing with a murderer.

BE AWARE OF: With the lack of empathy, he noted that these types of people had inappropriate smiles or the wrong emotion for the situation (laughing at the wrong time). You will feel something is not quite right, and won’t want to be in this person’s presence.

Dr. Hill reminds us that using Facial Coding, or even Theory of Mind to read the emotions in someone else might be able to point us towards what someone is feeling, but we can’t know why they are feeling this way, without asking them. When you notice a blend of emotions, like confusion mixed with fear in your student, or pride that can show a mix of emotions like happiness (that I succeeded) with anger (but look at the work it took to get here) you can get in the ballpark of the emotions someone feels, but a conversation goes a long way to going deeper into learning more, and uncovering what might be going on with that person.

To close out this week’s brain fact Friday, I think it’s important to note that we aren’t always looking for the positive emotions when looking to move towards our goals and make progress. Recognizing the negative feelings of being lost or unsure of your direction can cause for significant change like Dr. Hill noted when his friend turned him towards the direction of Facial Coding, or the Pro Sports Connection I spoke about who turned towards leadership, or when I had to quickly add an understanding of the brain to my work. This leads us to fear that Dr. Hill mentioned could be a strong motivator as long as it doesn’t lead you to freeze up in the process.

When you start looking closer at the emotions of others, it will give you more insight as you learn that “actions or facial coding, speaks louder than words” and this practice will get you closer to what someone is thinking and feeling, but nothing beats a face-to-face conversation to know with 100% certainty.

Have an incredible weekend! See you next week!

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreasamadi  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreasamadi/ 

REFERENCES:

[i] https://www.paulekman.com/amp/

[ii] The Truth Behind Lie to Me https://www.paulekman.com/blog/truth-behind-lie/amp/

[iii] The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast with Marc Bracket on his book “Permission to Feel” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/founding-director-of-the-yale-center-of-emotional-intelligence-on-his-new-book-permission-to-feel/

[iv] https://emotionswizard.com/about-the-emotions/

[v] https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-Duchenne-smile-left-versus-the-social-smile-right-Social-smiles-use-only-the_fig4_337322714

[vi] How the Brain Works with Anger Published on YouTube October 9, 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1fSzTiOzdA

[vii] https://www.gottman.com/about/research/couples

Dan Hill, Ph.D. ”The Faces Guy” on ”How to Read the Emotions in Others” for Schools, Sports and the Workplace

Dan Hill, Ph.D. ”The Faces Guy” on ”How to Read the Emotions in Others” for Schools, Sports and the Workplace

September 15, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #163 with Dr. Dan Hill, Ph.D. an internationally recognized expert on the role of emotions in politics, business, sports and pop culture, who has spoken to audiences in over 25 countries. There are two currencies in life, he says, “There’s dollars and emotions.” For over 20 years now, Dan has specialized in the latter – often in terms of business applications, and often by analyzing facial expressions because he asserts “the most valuable 25 square inches of visual territory on earth runs from the eyebrows to the mouth.” There, people best reveal and communicate the affective responses that so often drive their behavior, whether in the marketplace, the workplace, their personal lives, or in realms like politics, and sports.

Watch the interview on YouTube here.https://youtu.be/fT_SNrZM6rA

Learn more about Dr. Dan Hill https://www.sensorylogic.com/ 

See past Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast Episodes https://www.achieveit360.com/episodes/  

Back story 0-6:10

Interview with Dan Hill 6:10-1:10:25

In Today's Episode, you will learn:

✔︎ How to use facial coding to improve your results in your personal and professional life.

✔︎ Examples of how Dr. Hill used this skill in professional sports and in the classroom.

✔︎ The origins of facial coding beginning with Leonardo da Vinci, Darwin, Duchenne and Dr. Ekman.

✔︎ How Dr. Hill discovered this tool and how he has used it to build a successful career.

✔︎ Theory of Mind and Facial Coding--what emotion he stays away from.

✔︎ Our future leaders--What emotions will make them successful.

If you want to be more successful in life, happier in your marriage, be an expert at handling your kids, a better manager at work, a more effective coach in sports, a better hiring manager, close more sales, or negotiate a better deal for yourself, an understanding of how to read someone else’s facial expressions is imperative.

To capture and quantify emotions, Dan pioneered the use of facial coding (the analysis of facial expressions) in market research starting in 1998 and his company, Sensory Logic, Inc[i]., has done work for over half of the world’s top 100 consumer oriented, B2C companies. Dan has received seven U.S. patents related to facial coding and is also a certified Facial Action Coding System (FACS) practitioner[ii], which is a popular course, offered by someone I have studied in depth, Paul Ekman[iii] who’s a well-known psychologist and co-discoverer of micro expressions. Dr. Ekman was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine[iv] in 2009, has worked with many government agencies, domestic and abroad and has compiled over 50 years of his research to create comprehensive training tools to read the hidden emotions of those around you and believes we can all improve our ability to do this, with training[v] and Dan Hill has this training.

facial_expressionsbbl2e.png

IMAGE SOURCE: The New York Times November 18, 2014 https://nyti.ms/3nCE7co  

I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies that we can use to improve our own productivity in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments. My vision is to bring the experts to you, share their books, resources, and ideas to help you to implement their proven strategies, whether you are a teacher working in the classroom or online, a student, or parent working in the corporate space.

Our guest for this week’s podcast, Dan Hill, whose latest books consist of Famous Faces Decoded: A Guidebook for Reading Others;[vi] Two Cheers for Democracy: How Emotions Drive Leadership Style[vii]; and First Blush: People’s Intuitive Reactions to Famous Art[viii] will help us to take a deep dive into understanding why we need to be able to read the emotions in others. His earlier, business books include: About Face: The Secrets of Emotionally Effective Advertising[ix]; and Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions for Business Success, which features a foreword by Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons. He has a NEW book that was just released on AMAZON yesterday, Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo[x] that is a humorous take on how the workplace really operates and the fact that there’s a little truth in every joke. Dan Hill is also the host of the EQ Spotlight Podcast[xi] where he has discussions with thought leaders about the importance of emotions in politics, culture and life.

​In 2014, Dan received front-page coverage in The New York Times for his work with professional and NCAA Division 1 sports teams. Other media coverage has ranged from TV appearances on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Bloomberg TV, CNBC, CNN, C-Span, ESPN, Fox, “The Today Show,” PBS, and so many others that I will link in the show notes.

The Tennis Channel, to print and digital coverage in Allure, China Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Fast Company, The Financial Times, The Los Angeles Times,  Politico, Time, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. Dan was educated at St. Olaf College, Oxford University, Brown University, and Rutgers University. Along with his wife, Karen Bernthal, he nowadays splits his time between St. Paul, Minnesota and Palm Desert, California.

I am very grateful for the fact that this podcast allows me to learn from some of the top leaders in the world on improving productivity and results. Sometimes, while preparing for interviews, I step back and just notice how lucky I am to be able to speak directly with these world leaders, that I have the chance to learn from them, and share their knowledge with you. As I am researching, and meeting new people, you had better believe I’m also applying what I’m learning to my own life. This way, it’s like we are learning together. I will never take this learning opportunity for granted. I met Dan Hill, through Twitter, where he reached out to me, sharing his work and as I read his BIO I knew immediately that had to have him on the podcast to share his work with facing coding to help us to all understand how to read the emotions of others in our schools, sports environments and workplaces. This is a valuable skill that Dr. Paul Ekman believes we can all develop to help us to deal with what’s important in our life, without having to take the time to “think” about it. With practice, we should all be able to use this skill to just “know” the best way to proceed.  

Let’s meet Dan Hill and learn more about facial coding—what is it, and how can we use it in our own lives!

Welcome Dan Hill, thank you for joining me on the podcast today.

I have many questions for you but have to say that when we first met on Twitter, I recognized immediately that we needed to speak and it was a mix between the fact that I have been studying Dr. Eckman’s work on understanding emotions, and the fact that you have been applying this for the past 20 years, successfully in many different sectors. I’m beyond excited to learn more from you on this topic.

INTRO QUESTION: In your BIO, it mentions your front-page coverage in the New York Times for your work with professional and NCAA Division 1 sports teams and I had to look it up. I found the article “What Expressions Can Say About a Player”[xii] (Dec. 25, 2014) and Team’s Turn to a Face Reader Looking for That Winning Smile (Dec. 25, 2014)[xiii] and wonder how did you use this skill to analyze sports players to profile a successful vs problem or non-coachable player? I know there are entire courses on this subject, but what should we all know about this skill, and how we can use it to improve how we interact, teach or coach others?

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Kevin_Love_Cleveland_Cavaliersbfuck.png

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IMAGE SOURCE: The New York Times December 25, 2014 https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/12/26/sports/NBA-faces-data.html  

  1. I first heard about this idea of facing coding or reading emotions through facial expressions through Dr. Ekman’s work, and then through Dr. John Medina where he mentioned Theory of Mind in our interview. What are the origins of facial coding (Da Vinci, Darwin, Duchenne, Ekman)
  2. How did you discover this tool? Would you say you have a particular aptitude for facial coding? How hard is it for people to learn this skill? I know that intuition must play a role here, but how accurate is this process?
  3. I first mentioned Theory of Mind (where we can analyze and infer other people’s behaviors) on this podcast on episode #46[xiv]. Is facial coding like Theory of Mind?
  4. For educators in the classroom, can you suggest a couple of tips for helping them to understand their students better? (as you’ve taught college and also given many speeches)?
  5. What final thoughts do you think would be important for us all to take away with using facial coding in our schools, sports and workplaces?

History.png

Thank you very much Dan for your time, research, and strategies for us to all use and implement to become better at recognizing emotions in others, as well as ourselves. I know that American psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman would agree with you that this is a skill that we should all understand so that we can deal with what’s important in our life, quickly, with confidence, with this new understanding. For people who want to learn more about you, is the best place your website? What is your new book that you have coming out this week?

Thank you Dan!!

FOLLOW DR. DAN HILL

https://emotionswizard.com/

https://twitter.com/EmotionsWizard

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dan-hill-emotionswizard/

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/  

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreasamadi  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreasamadi/ 

RESOURCES:

Famous Faces Decoded Book Synopsis https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2271229932979186

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Wiggins

Bucks, Young and Rebuilding, Look to Jabari Parker to Lead the Way Back Nov. 18, 2014 by Ben Strauss  https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/19/sports/basketball/bucks-young-and-rebuilding-look-to-jabari-parker-to-lead-the-way-back.html?.?mc=aud_dev&ad-keywords=auddevgate&gclid=Cj0KCQjwkIGKBhCxARIsAINMioIUDGbdwkIAhb0IkjA2e2h35wD1swCkBjWjZlUScglN6Hmt3iipwiMaAln_EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

Dr. Paul Ekman’s FACS Training

https://www.paulekman.com/facial-action-coding-system/

Paul Ekman Image Reference https://www.pinterest.com/pin/455074737331481340/ and Research https://www.ekmaninternational.com/a-brief-history-into-paul-ekmans-early-research/

Early Origins of Facial Coding

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelangelo

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_da_Vinci

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duchenne_de_Boulogne

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Darwin

https://www.paulekman.com/about/paul-ekman/

 

Mona Lisa’s Smile is Not Genuine June 3, 2019 by St. George’s University of London https://neurosciencenews.com/mona-lisa-smile-14150/

The Science of Genuine Smiles December 6th, 2017 by Alina Lukashevsky https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-science-behind-smiles_b_9448650

The Duchenne Smile https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-Duchenne-smile-left-versus-the-social-smile-right-Social-smiles-use-only-the_fig4_337322714

https://www.gottman.com/about/research/couples/

REFERENCES:

[i] https://www.sensorylogic.com/

[ii] https://www.paulekman.com/facial-action-coding-system/

[iii] https://www.paulekman.com/amp/

[iv] http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1894410,00.html

[v] Paul Ekman: useful Things to Know About Emotions Published on YouTube Feb. 23, 2012 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdUZQmZfMzY

[vi]Famous Faces Decoded by Dan Hill  https://www.sensorylogic.com/famous-faces

[vii] Two Cheers for Democracy: How Emotions Drive Leadership Style by Dan Hill June 18, 2019 https://www.amazon.com/Two-Cheers-Democracy-Emotions-Leadership/dp/0999741624

[viii] First Blush: People’s Intuitive Reactions to Famous Art by Dan Hill October 1, 2019 https://www.amazon.com/First-Blush-Peoples-Intuitive-Reactions/dp/0999741632/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=first+blush&qid=1631455388&s=books&sr=1-1

[ix] About Face: The Secrets of Emotionally Effective Advertising by Dan Hill October 1, 2010 https://www.amazon.com/About-Face-Emotionally-Effective-Advertising/dp/0749457570/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=about+face+dan+hill&qid=1631455553&s=books&sr=1-3

[x] Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo by Dan Hill and Howard Moskowitz September 2021 https://www.amazon.com/Blah-Snarky-Guide-Office-Lingo-ebook/dp/B09BWPQGGJ

[xi] Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight Podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dan-hills-eq-spotlight/id1519669707

[xii] The New York Times “What Expressions Can Say About a Player” December 25, 2014 https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/12/26/sports/NBA-faces-data.html

[xiii] Teams Turn to a Face Reader, Looking for That Winning Smile by Kevin Randall Dec. 25, 2014 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/26/sports/nba-bucks-looking-for-an-edge-hire-expert-in-face-time.html

[xiv] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #46 “As Close to Mind Reading as Brain Science Gets: Developing and Using Theory of Mind in Your Daily Life” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/as-close-to-mind-reading-as-brain-science-gets-developing-and-using-theory-of-mind-in-your-daily-life/

Medical Director of Addictive Medicine at Stanford University, Dr. Anna Lembke on  ”Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence”

Medical Director of Addictive Medicine at Stanford University, Dr. Anna Lembke on ”Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence”

September 9, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #162 with Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Director of Addiction Medicine at Stanford University, Dr. Anna Lembke.[i]

Visit the episode website here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Pu82wZRZwo

Watch the interview with visuals on YouTube here.

Backstory and Introduction 0-13:00 minutes

Interview with Dr. Lembke 13:00-49:45

Follow Dr. Lembke https://profiles.stanford.edu/anna-lembke

To See Past Episodes of The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast https://www.achieveit360.com/episodes/

In Today's Episode, you will learn:
✔︎ About the addictive nature of social media, as well as why people become addicted to certain behaviors and substances.

✔︎About her 30 Day Dopamine Fast: An 8 step process that she suggests to help us to reset our brains if we have had a surplus of dopamine in our brain due to over-indulgence that helps many people "kick their bad habits" to the curb. 

✔︎ What is happening in the brain when we experience withdrawals when we try to stop a habit or behavior and how to overcome this uncomfortable feeling for increased happiness, mental health and awareness.

✔︎What exactly is the pleasure/pain balance and why we should all be able to recognize when we are getting too much of a good thing.

✔︎How to return to whatever it is that you enjoyed in moderation.

You may have seen her in the Netflix Documentary The Social Dilemma [ii] where she discusses the addictive nature of social media, explaining that it taps into “our basic biological imperative to connect with other people—that directly affects the release of dopamine and the reward pathway” (32:35 The Social Dilemma) and she warns us that “there’s no doubt that a vehicle like social media which optimizes this connection between people is going to have the potential for addiction.” Dr. Lembke is more concerned with our children and her children (who appear in the documentary with her) and on today’s podcast, she will arm us with the knowledge that she shares with her own children daily.  Her book Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked and Why It’s So Hard to Stop[iii] (2016) is a good overview of what addiction is, and the dangers of prescription drugs. Her NEW book Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence[iv] that was just released last month, explores the exciting new scientific discoveries that explain why the relentless pursuit of pleasure leads to pain…and what to do about it.

I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies that we can use to improve our own productivity in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments. My vision is to bring the experts to you, share their books, resources, and ideas to help you to implement their proven strategies, whether you are a teacher working in the classroom or online, a student, or parent working in the corporate space.

This week’s interview with Dr. Anna Lembke on her NEW book Dopamine Nation is based on true stories of her patients falling prey to addiction and finding their way out again with stories that many of us might find to be shocking, but she explains that “they are just extreme versions of what we are all capable of.” (Dopamine Nation)

When reading this book, or listening to this interview, I encourage you to think about your own life, your behaviors and what you might be running from since we are all running from something and like we have mentioned many times before on the podcast, awareness is the key to making any behavior change that can have a lasting impact on our productivity and results. My hope is that we can all take an honest look and find places where we might be leaking energy, to close those gaps, and redirect that energy towards our goals.

We covered the topic of addiction at the start of this year with Aneesh Chaudhry (EPISODE 102)[v] on “Mental Health, Well-Being and Meditation: Overcoming Addiction Using Your Brain” and I first mentioned Dr. Lembke on episode #157[vi] “Overcoming Digital Addiction Using Neuroscience” after a discussion with our friends about technology use led me to Dr. Lembke. This episode was a popular one, with over 700 downloads in the first few days of release. Then when I posted that I was working on this episode, over Labor Day weekend, I had many messages from friends and colleagues who shared with me that they were very interested in this topic. I think this is something that we should all be aware of, since most of us also have not ever had any training on the topic of addiction, yet we all know someone who struggles in some way. We can also learn so much about ourselves with this information. Understanding how chemical, behavioral, and even digital addictions are formed/broken can help us all to navigate our lives, with a deeper level of awareness that can close up those gaps where we waste energy, to improve our productivity.

Medical Disclaimer: Just a reminder—I would consider myself a researcher, sharing preventative and supplemental ideas and strategies related to the most current research on the brain, health and wellness education. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your health and remember that you should never disregard medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you learn through this podcast. Keep in mind, Dr. Lembke recommends her 30 day dopamine fast for people with less severe addictions and anyone who is struggling with a serious drug or alcohol addiction should seek further treatment from their medical provider.

Back to the episode…

Dr. Lembke’s book, Dopamine Nation shows us what happens when we get too much of a good thing, but we can use this understanding to counteract the effects of this neurotransmitter in our brain, bringing us back to balance, and productivity. 

PART I The Pursuit of Pleasure 

In part 1 of the book, called The Pursuit of Pleasure, Dr. Lembke gives some examples of “how we are constantly trying to distract ourselves from the present moment to be entertained” and “that we’re all running from pain—we’ll do almost anything to distract ourselves from ourselves” and that “we’ve lost the ability to tolerate even minor forms of discomfort.”  When I thought about this part of the book, I couldn’t agree more thinking of all the times I grab my phone to distract myself from something, anything difficult that comes my way, instead of staying in the present moment. Chapter three goes deeper into the  science of brain chemistry, discussing two key features of the effects of dopamine: the brain's tendency to seek homeostasis, and the development of tolerance

PART 2 Self Binding: Dr Lembke describes some encounters with her patients, and how to keep addictive behaviors under control. She covers Dopamine Fasting with an ACRONYM to help us learn how to use her 30-day Dopamine Fast to reset our brains. Dr. Lembke will explain her 30-day Dopamine Fasting Plan for people with less severe addictions, where she often sees people return to their “drug of choice” in a controlled way.  

30 Day Dopamine Fast 

Data: what are  you using, how much, how often?

Objectives: what does it do for you?

Problems: or downsides does it cause? 

Abstinence: stop using it for a month and see what happens

Mindfulness: be prepared to feel worse before you feel better 

Insight: abstaining from our drug of choice gives us incredible insight that we cannot see without stopping. What did you learn?

Next Steps: moving forward without the drug/behavior even when you miss it. Can you do that?

Experiment: Go back out into the world, experiment and see what works and what doesn’t.  

If there is something that you want to change in your life, try going without it for 30 days, and see what happens. Only you will know if this will work for you or not. Dr. Lembke noted that “even when moderation is achievable, many of her patients report it’s too exhausting to continue, and they ultimately opt for abstinence in the long haul” (Dopamine Nation).

PART 3 The Pursuit of Pain: Dr. Lembke explores the opposite side of the equation: seeking out things that are painful, in order for the brain to tend to increase feelings of pleasure immediately afterward in an attempt to regain homeostasis. Explains the “pain” side of addiction and the importance of finding balance, radical honesty and self-awareness because “people who lean too hard and too long on the pain side of the balance can also end up in a persistent dopamine deficit state.” (Dopamine Nation)

After releasing EPISODE 157 that explained Dr. Lembke’s work and her 30 day dopamine fast, I almost wanted to move on past this topic, as I say often, there are entire podcasts dedicated to addiction[vii], and they do a much better job than I ever could. But there is another reason I would rather skip it, and that’s because it’s a difficult topic. It’s much easier to move on past it than talk about something I’m still trying to learn and understand myself, because we weren’t taught this topic in school for us to know how it to handle it when it shows up in our life.

I remember the extent of my education on this topic was in 9th grade, when our PE teacher said, “don’t drink alcohol to cover up your problems.” I remember she appeared to be uncomfortable with the topic, but it’s an important one. If you ask anyone, we all know someone who suffers with a chemical addiction (alcohol or drugs) and since this topic was never a part of our schooling, it’s easy to criticize what we don’t understand, let alone recognize it in our own behaviors.

When I first encountered someone with an addiction, around 20 years ago, I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t just have one or two drinks and call it a night. Why did they have to keep going? What’s going on in the addicted brain?  This was years before we could type our questions into Google and get hundreds of articles to help us (like Dr. Lembke’s work, or even Dr. Amen’s work on the addicted brain), so I would go to our local library and find books that explained addiction to gain some understanding. I wish Dr. Lembke’s first book was there, as it wasn’t easy to navigate this topic. Not being the type to sweep anything under a rug, I found some ideas and solutions for this person to enter into a local rehab program[viii] to get further help, but this opened up a can of worms with a problem that was never discussed and made me really popular in that family, but this understanding gave me a new level of awareness that would help someone else years later.

This awareness helped my husband with one of his best friends from high school who called one day to confide in him that he had a heroin addiction, and was entering a faith-based rehabilitation program, but wanted one of his friends to know what was really going on with him. His initial reaction would have been to say “what the heck is wrong with you? Heroin addiction? Are you an idiot? How did this happen?” but because of all that time I spent researching at the library, I explained to him how addictions happen, often beginning innocently (using pain killers after a surgery) or in his friend’s case, using uppers to help him through his busy days). This explanation helped him to talk with his friend with more understanding and his friend did well in recovery, helping many others for a few years, until one day, it beat him, and he was gone.

I know this is a complex topic, often resulting in death like we saw with my husband’s high school friend, or we see with celebrities who have been unable to break the cycle, and the pandemic has magnified this issue for those who were stuck in their homes for all of this time, but with the understanding of our brain in mind, my hope is that this topic no longer is swept under the rug, but talked about openly to find solutions with our brain in mind.

Let’s meet Dr. Anna Lembke and explore her new book, Dopamine Nation, together to gain a deeper understanding for those who struggle with serious addiction, to those with less severe, and see if her 30 day Dopamine Fast could be a solution to tighten up the gaps and improve our productivity.

Welcome Dr. Lembke, thank you so much for agreeing to speak with me on the podcast today. I’ve got to tell you that before I hit send on your email to invite you on the show as a guest, I thought twice, a bit nervous about you actually replying and saying yes because I knew I needed to talk about a topic that I have avoided going deeper into, but at this point, It was obvious that I couldn’t  avoid it any longer, so thank you for agreeing to speak with me so quickly, allowing me to be more authentic and open.

Dr. Lembke, before we get to the questions I have on your most recent book, Dopamine Nation, I wanted to

ask a question that ties into where I first saw you, in the movie The Social Dilemma (which scared the living daylights out of me) where you talk about how “social media is a drug—that directly affects the release of dopamine and the reward pathway”[ix] and you talk about how with all of your knowledge and experience, you are still worried about your own kids and their time spent using these apps. I know your kids are a bit older now since that film was released, but what did you tell your kids DAILY about how our brains respond to certain apps on our cell phones?

NOTE: This question sums up everything I want to ask you in this interview, and that at the end, we can come back to your answer here, and I know it will sum everything up perfectly. I launched this podcast helping educators and those in the workplace to understand how to apply the most current neuroscience research into the classroom and workplace because it’s so important, and many of us need this information, but it wasn’t taught to us in school. Either was the topic of addiction, and this is why I thought it was so important to reach out to you, because your first book on this topic, Drug Dealer MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop (2016)[x] explains what is addiction and who is at risk, Dopamine Nation goes beyond chemical addiction (drugs and alcohol) to understanding the Social Dilemma you spoke about in the Netflix movie and beyond that with how our brains respond to anything we do to escape “even minor forms of discomfort.”

Q1: So diving into your book, Dopamine Nation, I thought I’d seen it all, but I’m sure there’s a lot you see in your practice that shows to what extent we distract ourselves from whatever it is that’s painful in our present moment. You give some good examples that drill down this point, and I thought about how often I use my phone to distract me from difficult times in life (From serious life challenges to minor things). I know we can all think of what we do to escape from life, but can you explain why not being In the present moment and dealing with life’s challenges as they come up (whether we are using our phones as an escape/drugs/alcohol, romance novels, binge watching Netflix, whatever it is we do) only make our challenges worse? 

Q2: I think I’ve got an understanding of what happens to our brain when we are in a dopamine deficit. Would it be accurate to say this is what happens when we cut something out that we liked, and experience withdrawals?

2B) What happens to our brain when we overindulge?

I had never heard of the idea that you mention in the article one of my friends put on the windshield of my car[xi] about how too much pleasure (with our phones, or video games or whatever it is) can tips us towards feeling pain. I’m not sure I have ever felt this, or I’m not aware of it. What is the pleasure /pain balance and how do we know we have had too much of a good thing?

Q3: But you say there’s good news, and that our brains can reset if we do what you call a dopamine fast (30 days away from whatever we were doing) and our brains can go back to balance or baseline. With the young man who was playing video games, he went back to doing what he enjoyed by modifying his behavior and making sure he kept his work and gaming separate. You talk about after the 30 days, that you experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. I know an alcoholic can’t after a month of abstinence go back to “controlled” drinking (as much as they would like to). How does the dopamine fast work and is there something we should watch out for to make sure our brains don’t get flooded with dopamine again? 

Dopamine is not the only neurotransmitter involved in reward processing, but most neuroscientists agree it is among the most important. Dopamine may play a bigger role in the motivation to get a reward than the pleasure of the reward itself. Wanting more than liking.

The more dopamine a drug releases in the brain’s reward pathway (a brain circuit that links the ventral tegmental area, the nucleus accumbens, and the prefrontal cortex), and the faster it releases dopamine, the more addictive the drug.

Q4: When I saw your rewards and dopamine chart that show how much dopamine is released with chocolate vs sex vs drugs, and you say that learning “also increases dopamine firing in the brain.”

RAT.jpg

Where would learning or other healthy habits fit on your rewards/dopamine release chart?

How can we be sure we are not being “indulgent” with healthier habits like learning/exercise?

In your article[xii], the young man who played video games was able to go back to playing video games with a modified schedule. Then I read about how the brain changes with high dopamine rewards. (Experience dependent plasticity). Does this mean that high reward behaviors you can’t limit, and you can never go back to them? Don’t we eventually experience tolerance with all behaviors, and over time would find them boring anyway? (Your example reading your novels they were never as exciting as the first read, or when we rewatch a Netflix series we loved, it’s never as good as the first time). Where does tolerance fit into the equation?

Experience Dependent Plasticity

The brain encodes long-term memories of reward and their associated cues by changing the shape and size of dopamine-producing neurons. For example, the dendrites, the branches off the neuron, become longer and more numerous in response to high-dopamine rewards. This process is called experience-dependent plasticity. These brain changes can last a lifetime and persist long after the drug is no longer available

PART II Self-Binding chapter four: Dopamine Fasting chapter five: Space, Time, and Meaning chapter six: A Broken Balance?

Q5: Can you explain your ACRONYM for DOPAMINE and what happens to our brain when we take a month off of using our drug of choice? Dr Huberman[xiii] said it really well in his recent interview with you, the first 10 days suck. Why does this dopamine deficit feel so bad?

“A week would be good, but in my experience, a month is usually the minimum amount of time it takes to reset the brain’s reward pathway. If you don’t feel better after four weeks of abstaining, that’s also useful data. That means the cannabis isn’t driving this, and we need to think about what else is. So what do you think? Do you think you would be able and willing to stop cannabis for a month?”

Younger people recalibrate faster than older people, their brains being more plastic. Furthermore, physical withdrawal varies drug to drug. It can be minor for some drugs like video games but potentially life-threatening for others, like alcohol and benzodiazepines.

Mindfulness practices are especially important in the early days of abstinence. Many of us use high-dopamine substances and behaviors to distract ourselves from our own thoughts. When we first stop using dopamine to escape, those painful thoughts, emotions, and sensations come crashing down on us.

Q5B) Why does tolerance occur?

Dr. Lembke, I could spend the next week asking you more questions, but know I’ve got to wrap up this interview.

Q6: To close out our questions, I wanted to give something for our listeners to be able to apply on this topic. I know that you openly talk about something you stopped doing in the book that you enjoyed, and I was on the tail end of letting go of a habit that I loved when someone put the article on my car about your 30 day dopamine fast, showing me how important it was to understanding this at the brain level.  Going back to the first question I asked you, “what do you tell your kids daily about dopamine/the pleasure/pain balance and dopamine deficit and the risk of addiction” what should we all know dopamine, and breaking free of its hold over us?

Q7: Final thoughts? What should we all know about Dopamine Nation?

Thank you very much for your time today. I will put the links to Dopamine Nation in the show notes, and for anyone who wants to reach you, is the best way through your Stanford website?

Thank you Dr. Lembke.

BIO:

PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES (GENERAL PSYCHIATRY AND PSYCHOLOGY-ADULT)

Dr. Anna Lembke received her undergraduate degree in Humanities from Yale University and her medical degree from Stanford University. She is currently Professor and Medical Director of Addiction Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine. She is also Program Director of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Fellowship, and Chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and a diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine.

Dr. Lembke was one of the first in the medical community to sound the alarm regarding opioid overprescribing and the opioid epidemic. In 2016, she published her best-selling book on the prescription drug epidemic, "Drug Dealer, MD – How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop" (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016). Her book was highlighted in the New York Times as one of the top five books to read to understand the opioid epidemic (Zuger, 2018).

"Drug Dealer, MD" combines case studies with public policy, cultural anthropology, and neuroscience, to explore the complex relationship between doctors and patients around prescribing controlled drugs. It has had an impact on policy makers and legislators across the nation. Dr. Lembke has testified before Congress and consulted with governors and senators from Kentucky to Missouri to Nevada. She was a featured guest on Fresh Air with Terry Gross, MSNBC with Chris Hayes, and numerous other media broadcasts.

Using her public platform and her faculty position at Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. Lembke has developed multiple teaching programs on addiction and safe prescribing, as well as opioid tapering. She has held multiple leadership and mentorship positions and received the Stanford’s Chairman’s Award for Clinical Innovation, and the Stanford Departmental Award for Outstanding Teaching. Dr. Lembke continues to educate policymakers and the public about causes of and solutions for the problem of addiction.

Look for her new book, "Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence" (Dutton/Penguin Random House, August 2021).

FOLLOW DR. ANNA LEMBKE: 

https://profiles.stanford.edu/anna-lembke

https://tedx.stanford.edu/lineup/anna-lembke

https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/title/drug-dealer-md

 

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/  

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreasamadi  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreasamadi/ 

 

RESOURCES:

https://tedx.stanford.edu/lineup/anna-lembke

Reward Pathway in the Brain Khan Academy Lesson https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/mcat/processing-the-environment/drug-dependence/v/reward-pathway-in-the-brain

REFERENCES:

[i] https://profiles.stanford.edu/anna-lembke

[ii] The Social Dilemma Full Feature Netflix Movie Published on YouTube August 17, 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mqR_e2seeM

[iii] Drug Dealer MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked and Why It’s So Hard to Stop https://www.amazon.com/Drug-Dealer-MD-Doctors-Patients/dp/1421421402

[iv] Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Dr. Anna Lembke August 24, 2021 https://www.amazon.com/Dopamine-Nation-Finding-Balance-Indulgence-ebook/dp/B08KPKHVXQ

[v]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #102  “Mental Health, Well-Being and Meditation: Overcoming Addiction Using Your Brain”

https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/aneesh-choudhry-on-mental-health-well-being-and-meditation-overcoming-addictionusing-your-brain/

[vi] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #157 on “Overcoming Digital Addiction Using Neuroscience” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/brain-fact-friday-overcoming-digital-addiction-using-neuroscience/

[vii] 15 Best Addiction Podcasts for 2021 https://www.choosingtherapy.com/addiction-podcasts/

[viii] https://www.bannerhealth.com/es/services/behavioral-health/treatment-programs

[ix] The Social Dilemma Full Feature Netflix Movie Published on YouTube August 17, 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mqR_e2seeM

[x] Drug Dealer MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop (Nov.15, 2016) https://www.amazon.com/Drug-Dealer-MD-Doctors-Patients/dp/1421421402

[xi] Digital Addictions are Drowning Us in Dopamine by Dr. Anna Lembke. (Saturday August 14/Sunday August 15, 2021) https://www.wsj.com/articles/digital-addictions-are-drowning-us-in-dopamine-11628861572

[xii] IBID

[xiii] Dr. Andrew Huberman’s Huberman Lab Podcast https://hubermanlab.com/dr-anna-lembke-understanding-and-treating-addiction/

John Almarode, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey on ”How Learning Works: Translating the Science of Learning in Your Classroom”

John Almarode, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey on ”How Learning Works: Translating the Science of Learning in Your Classroom”

September 2, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #161 with 2 returning guests, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey from EPISODE #77[i] from last August 2020 on “Developing and Delivering High Quality Distance Learning for Students” that became our most watched YouTube interview and we also have the co-author of their new book that we are diving into today, How Learning Works, John Almarode.

Watch this video on YouTube.

To Learn More About How Learning Works https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/how-learning-works/book279410#description

To Learn More About Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey https://fisherandfrey.com/

To See Past Episodes of The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast https://www.achieveit360.com/episodes/

 

I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments so this podcast was created to share ideas that we can all use, understand and implement immediately. My vision is to bring the experts to you, share their books, resources, and ideas to help you to implement their proven strategies, whether you are a teacher working in the classroom or online, a student, or parent working in the corporate space.

Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, John Almarode Background and Short Bio:

Just to view our speakers for today, our returning guests Doug and Nancy are also both teacher leaders at Health Sciences High & Middle College[ii], an award-winning open-enrollment public school in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego that they co-founded in 2007. For over 2 decades, they have dedicated their work to the knowledge and skills teachers and school leaders need to help students attain their goals. Their shared interests include instructional design, curriculum development, and professional learning. Doug and Nancy have co-authored numerous articles and books on literacy, and leadership that I’ve included links to in the show notes, including: This is Balanced Literacy,[iii] The Teacher Clarity Playbook, PLC+,[iv] All Learning is Social & Emotional,[v] The Teacher Credibility and Collective Efficacy Playbook,[vi] and most recently The Distance Learning Playbook[vii] with co-author John Hattie[viii].

Dr. John Almarode has worked with schools, classrooms, and teachers all over the world.  John began his career teaching mathematics and science in Augusta County to a wide range of students.  Since then, he has presented locally, nationally, and internationally on the application of the science of learning to the classroom, school, and home environments.  He has worked with hundreds of school districts and thousands of teachers.  In addition to his time in PreK – 12 schools and classrooms, he is an Associate Professor and Executive Director of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education at James Madison University.  When you view some of the teacher resources and videos on the Companion Website, you will meet John in the Intro and Purpose Behind this new Playbook.

I’m excited to welcome back University Professors Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey, with John Almarode, to dive deeper into their new book, How Learning Works: A Playbook[ix] that unpacks the science of how students learn and translates that knowledge into promising principles or practices that can be implemented in the classroom or utilized by students on their own learning journey. Designed to help educators create learning experiences that better align with how learning works, each module in this playbook is grounded in research and features prompts, tools, practice exercises, and discussion strategies that help teachers to

  • Describe what is meant by learning in the local context of your classroom, including identifying any barriers to learning.
  • Adapt promising principles and practices to meet the specific needs of your students—particularly regarding motivation, attention, encoding, retrieval and practice, cognitive load and memory, productive struggle, and feedback.
  • Translate research on learning into learning strategies that accelerate learning and build students’ capacity to take ownership of their own learning—such as summarizing, spaced practice, interleaved practice, elaborate interrogation, and transfer strategies.
  • Generate and gather evidence of impact by engaging students in reciprocal teaching and effective feedback on learning.

Rich with resources that support the process of parlaying scientific findings into classroom practice, this playbook offers all the moves teachers need to design learning experiences that work for all students!

Let’s meet Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and John Almarode and uncover the science behind How Learning Works.

Welcome back Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and welcome John Almarode to the podcast! It’s so good to see you again after such a successful launch of your BESTSELLING Distance Learning Playbook[x] last year. How have you been and wonderful to meet you John!  

Q1: I was excited to see your new book How Learning Works for so many reasons, but to start off with, something you say about your playbook is the reason why I tied Neuroscience, or an understanding to the brain to this podcast. You say that this playbook is about “how learning works—not by chance, but by design.” (Introduction) Can you explain what you had in mind when writing this book, that unpacks the science of how we learn so that educators can design a learning experience in their classroom based on the research and principles you have found to be effective?

Q2: I love how the book has an interactive component where you can click through each of the 4 sections, watch videos for further exploration, and access the many resources, research articles and downloads available for each of the 4 parts of the book. Can you give an overview for the reader to be sure they don’t miss anything that’s important as they navigate through the online resources and what we should learn in each section?

Q3: This book is full of the science and most current research behind learning and features so many valuable resources that point educators back to the research. Of course, I enjoy seeing well-known researchers who I have met along this podcast journey, one of them being Kent State’s Dr. John Dunlosky, from EPISODE #37[xi] who covered with us “Improving Student Success with Principles from Cognitive Neuroscience” whose research I saw included in your resource section under resources related to learning.[xii]  I also saw a video series from Samford University on “Cognitive Principles of Effective Teaching” that we should all know as educators, and I can’t miss my all-time favorite interview (besides you three of course) #42[xiii] with Dr. John Medina, whose research you’ve referenced from his Brain Rules series under your section of elaborate encoding in Part II under the Motivation Chapter. How did you choose the resources to back up the science behind How Learning Works and are there others that are important to you who I haven’t mentioned?

Q4: I think we have a good idea about what we can learn from How Learning Works:

THE INTRODUCTION: covers the purpose of the playbook

PART 1: covers what learning looks like in your classroom and different ways to think about learning.

PART 2: Looks at barriers to learning with Promising Principles (Motivation, Attention, Elaborate Encoding, Retrieval and Practice, Cognitive Load, Productive Struggle and Feedback). Can you pick one of the promising principles (Motivation? Or one you want to talk about) and dive a bit deeper into mastering these principles?

Q5:PART 3: I think this section is exactly what educators are looking for as it explicitly teaches skills to students to help them to self-regulate, and how to master these skills long after they have left the classroom (using explicit strategy instruction, goal setting, integrating prior knowledge, summarizing, mapping, self-testing, and elaborative interrogation). Can you pick one topic to expand on?

Q6: For this final part of the Playbook, generating and gathering evidence, can you explain the goal so that this Playbook uncovers what worked well, what needs more work and what are the best next steps to follow?

Q7: Final thoughts or anything we have missed that’s important for us to all understand about How Learning Works?

Doug, Nancy and John, thank you very much for coming on the podcast to share this new Playbook, that you can see I find immense value with. Thank you for your time speaking with me today, and for the work you have put into this resource to help educators to uncover How Learning Works, and create a plan for continued improvement in their schools, classrooms and Districts.

To access the book  https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/how-learning-works/book279410#description

There is also a 20% discount code POD20 that can be used for ALL books on Corwin.com

To contact Nancy Frey or Doug Fisher https://www.fisherandfrey.com/ and they can find you both on twitter Nancy is https://twitter.com/NancyFrey and Douglas is https://twitter.com/DFISHERSDSU 

To connect with John Almarode:  https://twitter.com/jtalmarode on Twitter and www.johnalmarode.com

Thank you and have an incredible Friday!

FREE WEBINAR To Learn More:

John and Nancy are presenting a free webinar on Sept 13 at 3:30pm PT A Look at How Learning Works 

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/  

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreasamadi  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreasamadi/ 

 

RESOURCES:

 

Companion resources for the How Learning Works Playbook https://resources.corwin.com/howlearningworks

John Hattie’s Visible Learning https://visible-learning.org/

REFERENCES:

[i]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #77 with University Professors Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey on “Developing and Delivering High Quality Distance Learning”  https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/university-professors-and-authors-doug-fisher-and-nancy-frey-on-developing-and-delivering-high-quality-distance-learning-for-students/

[ii] https://www.facebook.com/hshmc.inc/ give

[iii] https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/this-is-balanced-literacy-grades-k-6/book266872

[iv] https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/plc/book266974

[v] http://www.ascd.org/Publications/Books/Overview/All-Learning-Is-Social-and-Emotional.aspx

[vi] https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/the-teacher-credibility-and-collective-efficacy-playbook-grades-k-12/book271561

[vii] https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/thedistancelearningplaybook

[viii] John Hattie https://visible-learning.org/

[ix] How Learning Works: A Playbook by John Almarode, (James Madison University, Douglas Fisher (San Diego State University) and Nancy Frey (San Diego State University). https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/how-learning-works/book279410#description

[x] Distance Learning Playbook by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/the-distance-learning-playbook-grades-k-12/book275865

[xi]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #37 on “Improving Student Success with Principles from Cognitive Neuroscience”  https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/kent-states-dr-john-dunlosky-on-improving-student-success-some-principles-from-cognitive-science/

[xii] https://pcl.sitehost.iu.edu/rgoldsto/courses/dunloskyimprovinglearning.pdf

 

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