Author Archives: Jeff Miller

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About Jeff Miller

Jeff Miller was a classroom teacher for 10 years before joining Quantum Learning Network as an Education Development Manger. He currently writes curriculum, designs trainings, and facilitates learning and life skills workshops with educators and youth. Jeff has an MFA in Creative Writing and dabbles in poetry and nonfiction.

Six Minutes with Steve Snyder

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Does the name Steve Snyder sound familiar to you? He once read fourteen books on a flight between Los Angeles and Sydney, Australia. His reading speed is about five thousand words per minute for what he calls his “jogging speed.” His sprinting speed is about ten thousand words per minute. At age 15, he began teaching his reading techniques to fellow students. If over the years you have taken or taught our Quantum Reading course then Steve Snyder’s story is familiar. Steve’s reading techniques are the Quantum Reading system we have taught for years to help students increase their reading speed and comprehension.

Steve recently visited Quantum Learning Network’s headquarters in Oceanside, California, and spent some time with us talking about reading, memorization, and the power of the brain. He confirmed that he did indeed read fourteen books on that flight to Australia and even told us some of the titles. He still reads three to four books a day and averages twenty to twenty-five a week. But it was his comments on his powerful brain that stood out the most from our conversation.

According to Steve, “Our memory is 100% accurate. All that good information we have ever learned is still stored somewhere up there. Recalling it is where the difficulty lies.” We all agreed we’d benefit from accurate and timely retrieval of the information we have stored in our brains. When we asked Steve if he has always had an amazing brain his eyes lit up, a big smile consumed his face, and he said with certainty, “I have a great brain, and so do you!”

“Your beliefs about your brain become a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy,” he advised. Steve tells himself every day that he has a great memory. When he notices waiters memorizing his order without writing it down he is sure to tell them, “You have a great memory  . . . and so do I!” He says the “and so do I” reminds him that we are all blessed with the most incredible and miraculous of organs  . . . our brains.

I marvel at how, in such a short period of time, Steve drew everyone in with his enthusiasm, positivity, and willingness to share his journey. I couldn’t help but think what a remarkable man he is. He has taught his reading techniques to hundreds of thousands of people around the world and read thousands upon thousands of books. What an incredible mind he possesses  . . . and so do I!

Check out Steve Snyder’s new book, Focused Passion, available atwww.focusedpassionthebook.com.                              

 

 

Sensation-Seeking versus Delinquency

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Anyone working closely with teenagers has witnessed it. Teenagers defy logic. Their propensity for taking risks has launched a thousand campaigns from “anti-smoking” and “not texting while driving” to “teen pregnancy” and “teen suicide prevention.”

Neuroscience has demonstrated that the adolescent years are among the most dynamic and transformational time periods in brain development. Changes range from increased hormone production to formation of new brain circuitry.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, during adolescence, “. . . the parts of the brain involved in keeping emotional, impulsive responses in check are still reaching maturity. Such a changing balance might provide clues to a youthful appetite for novelty, and a tendency to act on impulse—without regard for risk.”

And while teachers and parents of teens battle the apparent attitude that accompanies these brain changes we can often misunderstand the intentions of a teenage mind. Although, statistically speaking, there are dangers associated with the teenage years it is also a period of incredible brain potential and growth.

In her article, “What Sends Teens Toward Triumph or Tribulation,” Alison Gopnik discusses Laurence Steinberg’s new book on the teenage mind Age of Opportunity. The topics of teenage impulsivity, sensation-seeking, and delinquency are discussed, leading us to a better understanding of how to not just fear but capitalize on these formative years of adolescent brain development.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/what-sends-teens-toward-triumph-or-tribulation-1413992026      

 

The State of Create

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Schools are hotbeds of creativity. Or are they?

According to a recent study conducted by Edelman Berland, there is a “universal concern that creativity is suffering at work and school.” With two thirds of respondents agreeing that creativity is valuable to society and essential to societal growth, 59% globally and 62% from the United States feel “Creativity is being stifled by their education systems.”

Do you agree? What role do schools play in teaching creativity? What departments?  What subjects? How do you promote creativity in your classroom?

Read more about the State of Create in the infographic below:

(http://www.edelmanberland.com/our-studies/the-state-of-create-infographic/)

 

Classroom Climate

classroom_beach_themeFall break is in the air! Back to school nights are in the rear view mirror, parent-teacher conferences are winding down, and everything “pumpkin spiced” is warming up as temperatures start to cool down. The halfway point of the semester quickly comes and goes but have you taken the time to ask yourself, “How is my classroom climate?”

The first few months of the semester were a time to dig in, stand firm, and set a strong foundation for the expectations of your classroom. With the classroom agreements clearly stated and students being held accountable for them every day, you have spent some great energy in making sure the classroom is a place of productivity.

Now is a great time to take your classroom’s temperature and get a gauge on how your students are adapting to the atmosphere of your learning environment. Use the thermometer below and see how your students are settling in to your classroom climate.

Too Much Heat – Everyone needs to chill out

A few of my students dominate or control the classroom. Participation is sporadic and there is a lot of time and attention spent on distracting behavior and off-topic conversation. My students know the rules but aren’t choosing to follow them. I spend most of my instruction time fighting classroom management issues and I’m on the brink of losing patience.

The Perfect Temperature – Feeling just right

My students feel safe to take risks in the classroom, both cognitively and socially. Participation is gathering steam and my students are putting forth a consistent effort. Accountability is shifting from me always having to remind them to taking ownership for their actions to them doing so on their own. I feel confident in my planning and we’re moving at a great pace through the content.

Too Cool – Light a fire under them

My students are starting to skate by and only do the minimum work that’s required of them. I have to practically beg for participation and often call on the same few students. My students aren’t bad by any means but I wish they would try a little harder and put a little passion into what we’re doing. We’re flying through lessons and I do most of the talking in the classroom.

Regardless of where your classroom temperature currently sits, take some time this week and speak openly and honestly with your students about the atmosphere of your learning environment. Have your students rate where they think they are as a class and talk about individual solutions and action steps they can take to readjust their participation, ownership, and rigor levels. Make sure you model taking ownership when you’re not being effective and recommit to holding everyone accountable for giving their personal best. And don’t forget to grab a pumpkin-spiced latte to celebrate all the hard work you put in every day!