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Learn What You Live Posts

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

‘Most of us assume that there exists a single thing called “motivation,” which people can have a lot of, a little of, or none of. Naturally, we want our kids to possess copious quantities of it, which is to say, we want them to be highly motivated to do their homework, to act responsible, and so forth. The trouble, though, is that there are actually different kinds of motivation. Most psychologists distinguish between the intrinsic kind and the extrinsic kind. Intrinsic motivation basically means that you like what you’re doing for it’s own sake, whereas extrinsic motivation means you do something as a…

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How experience changes the structure of the brain

‘A massive proliferation of synapses occurs during the first years of life. These connections are shaped by genes and chance as well as experience, with some aspects of ourselves being less amenable to the influence of experience than others. Our temperament, for example, has a nonexperiential basis; it is determined in large part by genes and by chance. For instance, we may have a robust approach to novelty and love to explore new things, or we may tend to hang back in response to new situations, needing to “warm up” before we can overcome our initial shyness. Such neural propensities…

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The Classic View of Learning

‘The classic view of learning is encapsulated in seven words familiar to every speaker of English: You learn from the company you keep. You don’t learn by consciously modelling yourself on the company you keep, or by deliberately imitating other people. You become like them.  We all know this and organise our lives accordingly. I have found a similar proverb or saying in every language I have encountered. We take it for granted that the people around us influence the way we are. That is why the point of view is classic – we rarely think about the continual learning that…

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Our Story – Learn What You Live

Educational philosophy is big in home ed circles. It can be reassuring to hear ‘unschooling’, ‘Charlotte Mason’ or ‘Classical’ and feel like you have some idea where the friend you’ve just met is coming from and what their days look like. The truth is, of course, that we all make our own adjustments and few of us have days that pan out how we’d planned in advance anyway; so those quick descriptions are less helpful than you might hope. Back when we were first considering home education, I did some reading around early years philosophies. I read about Waldorf education;…


Spirit of Adventure

‘For curiosity, interest, and a longing to know more and more types of experience are the qualities that stimulate a desire to know about life and to understand it. They provide the zest that makes it possible to meet any situation as an adventure. Without that spirit of adventure, life can be a dull business. With it, there is no situation, however limiting, physically or economically, which cannot be filled to the brim with interest. Indeed, without interest, it is almost impossible to continue to learn; certainly, it is impossible to continue to grow. Now and then, I am surprised…

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How You Made Them Feel

‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.’ This is widely attributed to Maya Angelou, though a bit of research suggests this is a misattribution, and actually it’s closest to something originally written by Carl Buehner. Either way, it isn’t hard to think of someone close to you and immediately conjure up the feeling of being with them, for good or ill. It succinctly reminds us of the way relationships and emotion colour every interaction we have.

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