Po Bronson

Patterns in Pattern-Seeking

Because of the holiday weekend, my daughter has the day off from kindergarten, and we'll soon be driving down to the pumpkin maze in Half Moon Bay, California."I'd better buy two pumpkins," she said."Okay.

Motivation and Flow: The Teenager Edition

Over the past week, I've been writing about the importance of motivation in improving the rate at which kids learn. Typically, when we think about such examples, we tend to think in terms of a particular activity that a kid becomes emotionally invested in. (In my son's case, it was Pokémon, now it's sports.) However, motivation is also affected by structural factors—by how a subject, skill, or sport is taught.

Playing the "Conditional Love" Card

It's interesting to see the term "conditional love" reenter the zeitgeist, as Ashley wrote about yesterday. Conditional love, everyone can well remember, is being hot and cold with a child – accepting them only when they are polite, honest, bring home good grades, get into name-brand colleges, and marry well.

Middle School, the Big Fishbowl

One of the fashionable ideas in education reform these days is to make middle schools much smaller. Currently, most kids grow up in their friendly neighborhood elementary school, where they know almost everyone's name, and then hit middle school: a big, impersonal environment full of strangers.

Does Labeling Bias as "Bullying" Hide the Real Problem?

Yesterday, we were struck by Tony Dokoupil's piece on Alex Merritt, a young man bullied by his teachers. As Dokoupil movingly reported, the taunts were cruel, and the remarks were almost entirely based on the teachers' allegations that Merritt was a homosexual. Of course, the fact the bullying was spearheaded by teachers – then spread to the student-body – makes the situation seem all the more unforgivable. But it reminded us of the work of University of Arizona professor, Stephen T.

Is 'Emotional Intelligence' Real?

As we noted in NurtureShock, emotional intelligence is having a family feud. The field is commonly described as having its commercial wing and its academic wing; on the commercial side is bestselling author Daniel Goleman, and on the academic side are scholars like the Yale dean Peter Salovey, whose team conceptualized one of the first theoretical models of emotional intelligence.

In Defense of the SAT

One of the most popular ideas of our time is the notion that in judging a young person's future success, we've become imbalanced, giving too much credence to whether a child has learned the stuff of textbooks, and too little value to whether that child has learned the stuff of real life.

The Social Hierarchy of Preschoolers

At my daughter's preschool, there's occasionally a"boo-boo report" in her cubby at the end of the day. Via a series of checked boxes and a half-sentence description, the report cryptically conveys why my daughter might have a bump on her head, a scrape on her hand, or a bite mark on her wrist.The report never mentions the offender by name, but my daughter usually offers all the details the second she sees me.

Can Extracurricular Activities Solve the Self-segregation Problem?

In American high schools today, it's taken as a given that extracurricular activities bring students of different races together. What's more, it's on clubs and sports teams that the conditions of Allport's Contact Theory are actually met – students are working together toward a single goal, rather than competing against each other.