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Kids Creating Choices, Daniel Willingham at The New School

The Institute for Urban Education hosts Daniel Willingham, a nationally known cognitive scientist who speaks to questions that educators have about their students’ ability to learn and examines the brain’s design as part of the answer.

In this talk, Willingham will explore how cognitive research on choice-making can help us better keep students engaged in schoolwork, even after efforts to make learning experiences “interesting” and “relevant have failed.

Students continually make choices: they choose whether to attend to a lesson or to a neighbor. What goes into such choices? Science has identified four important factors: the expected outcome, the judged probability that the outcome will be obtained, the cost of making the choice, and the chooser’s personality. The lecture will explore how to fruitfully apply this scientific learning to the classroom.

Author of Why Don’t Students Like School?, Current Directions in Cognitive Science, and Cognition: The Thinking Animal, his work in education is based in cognitive psychology. He also writes a column called “Ask the Cognitive Psychologist” for American Educator.