143: The Extended Mind with Annie Murphy Paul

We don’t just think with our brains.

What?!

How can that possibly be true?

I struggled to understand it myself for quite a while, until I read the fabulous English philosopher Andy Clark’s description of what happens when someone writes, which essentially involves ideas flowing down the arm and hand, through the pen and ink, across the paper, up to your eyes, and back to your brain.

The ideas don’t literally flow, of course, but the process of writing alters the process of thinking – which is why research has shown that processing traumatic memories through journaling about them is more useful just thinking about them – the act of writing about them changes our interpretation of them in a way that just thinking about them doesn’t.

The challenge with school-based learning, of course, is that it’s primarily concerned with the brain.  Our task is to remember facts and ideas so we can recount them when asked about them at a later time.  Children who fidget are told to sit still, when the research that Annie Murphy Paul cites in her new book The Extended Mind indicates that this instruction is entirely misplaced – fidgeting can be a way of managing excess energy, and movement can actually help us to remember things more effectively than we otherwise would.

In this episode we learn many of the different ways that we our brains interact with the outside world to learn in ways that we might never have considered up to now.

I think of this kind of learning as Full-Bodied Learning, and long before I’d read Annie’s book I had actually developed an entire module of content for the Supporting Your Child’s Learning membership on exactly this topic.  In the module we extend the ideas in today’s episode to support our children in using their full bodies to learn both in school and outside of school as well.

You do have to be a member to access that specific content, but you can get a taste for similar kinds of tools that you can use with your child in the free You Are Your Child’s Best Teacher workshop which starts on Monday September 13.  In the workshop you’ll:

 

  • Learn how to use your child’s interests as a jumping off point for deep, self-driven learning
  • Show (to yourself and others!) that your child is engaged in complex, multi-faceted learning
  • Reimagine what learning looks like (it can be exciting and fun, and not something you have to bribe your child to do!)
  • Understand your values about learning so you can do activities that are aligned with those values
  • Feel confident that you can effectively support your child’s intrinsic love of learning – whether or not your child is in school.

 

So whether you’re homeschooling or not; whether you work outside the home or not, YOU really are the person who can best support your child’s learning – mostly because you know them better than anyone else so you can help them much more effectively once you gain the skills to do that.

The workshop consists of one short email each day for five days, access to a supportive community of parents who are on the same learning journey as you, and a wrap-up masterclass at the end to bring it all together where we can chat live about your questions.

If you want to raise a child who has an intrinsic, life-long love of learning, I do hope you’ll join me in the workshop – it’s completely FREE!

Just click the image below to sign up.

 

 

 

 

 

Jump to highlights:

  • (01:00) Looking at the idea that our mind isn’t actually only located inside of our brains
  • (01:46) An open invitation to join the free You Are Your Child’s Best Teacher Workshop
  • (05:30) Learning does not just happen within the brain, but with things and people that are outside of it
  • (06:44) The metaphor of how our brains are like magpies nest: we draw raw material available to us as resources for our thinking process just like how magpies incorporate materials available in their environment when building their nests
  • (09:22) The movements and gestures of our bodies, the internal sensations of our bodies are part of the thinking process
  • (10:34) Interoceptive sensitivity
  • (13:07) The gut feeling is your body tugging at your sleeve saying that you’ve encountered this situation before and this is how you should respond
  • (14:53) Moving the body is a way to stimulate mental processes in specific ways and you can use different kinds of movements to produce different kinds of thoughts
  • (16:53) Recess –  the great invention that allows students to move and break the monotony of sitting down all day in school
  • (17:49) Fidgeting is  a very subtle way to calibrate our arousal level so that we’re in this optimal state of alertness
  • (19:00) We’re creatures who are good at moving our bodies and navigating through space and interacting with other people
  • (20:23) We rely on our surroundings to shape our sense of ourselves
  • (26:48) We can interact with our environment in a way that supports our learning
  • (28:33) What are some ways that we can support children in using the space around them in their learning
  • (31:49) Journaling and sketching as a tool to process learning deeper
  • (36:47) Thinking with relationships; encouraging children to learn from and with other people
  • (45:25) Allowing your children to genuinely work together so that parents don’t need to support their learning individually
  • (46:29) We tend to think of learning as when a person sits down at a desk but in fact there are all these cognitive processes that get activated in social interactions
  • (48:08) Argument is very valuable and can be a really effective way of solving problems
  • (52:43) It is a different cognitive process when we do learning with other people
  • (55:45) Human thinking works best when we are able to create “loops” and the best way for parents to support their children’s learning is to look for those loops

 

Other episodes mentioned in this interview:

 

Links:

 

Transcript
Jen Lumanlan:

Hi, I'm Jen and I host the Your Parenting Mojo Podcast. We all want her children to lead fulfilling lives. But it can be so hard to keep up with the latest scientific research on child development and figure out whether and how to incorporate it into our own approach to parenting. Here at Your Parenting Mojo, I do the work for you by critically examining strategies and tools related to parenting and child development that are grounded in scientific research and principles of respectful parenting.

Jen Lumanlan:

If you'd like to be notified when new episodes are released, and get a free guide called 13 reasons why your child won't listen to you, and what to do about each one, just head over to yourparentingmojo.com/subscribe. You can also continue the conversation about the show with other listeners in the Your Parenting Mojo Facebook group. I do hope you'll join us.

Jen Lumanlan:

Hello, and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo Podcast. Today we're here with an episode that's going to stretch our minds as it were because we're going to look at the idea that our mind isn't actually only located inside of our brains. If you're immediately thinking, well there's no way that can possibly be true, you might want to pause this interview and go and listen to the conversation with Dr. Chris Niebauer in Episode 113, where we look at what our selves are, and whether they are located inside us because that will give you some useful background information. Today, we're continuing and extending this approach by looking at how our minds learn. And we can make a pretty compelling argument that they actually learn most efficiently and effectively when we consider that learning does not just happen within the brain, but with things and people that are outside of it.

Jen Lumanlan:

Before we get to our conversation, I wanted to let you know that one of the reasons I was so excited to dig into this topic is because it's so well aligned with what we learn in the Supporting Your Child's Learning Membership. In the membership, we help you to support your child's intrinsic love of learning. We're actually agnostic about whether you're homeschooling, we have parents in the membership who are homeschooling full time and using this method as the backbone of what they spend their time doing. And there are plenty of others whose children are or will be in school full time. And they're using the tools in the membership to supplement that. I really love working with parents in this membership, because it's no exaggeration to say there's nothing else like it available. I'm gonna be totally upfront and say this is not a curriculum. It's not going to tell you what you should be doing at 10am on a Tuesday, or provide you with a list of math problems that you should be able to solve by a certain age. It's not even like some of those fake interest-led learning curricula out there that say, okay, your child is interested in dinosaurs here are 50 books you can read and games you can play and math problems you can do by calculating how many plants you need to feed 10 Triceratops is for three days when each one eats five plants a day. In the membership, you'll learn what's actually happening in children's brains and bodies, as we'll learn about today, when they're learning. We'll help you to identify topics to do a learning exploration, which is where your child leads you into deep learning. And you end up going into reading and math and biology and physics and all of the kinds of things you would never have anticipated. Or even think it would be possible for a child to learn will help you truly listen to your child so you can understand what they're really worried about and interested in and trying to figure out through their questions. You'll learn how to scaffold their learning effectively, so you aren't leaving them to figure things out by themselves. And you also aren't running the show and doing a beautiful project for them that you found on Pinterest or in a subscription box long after they've lost interest. You'll document their learning either because it's fun to track how they're interested developing over time, or to create records for homeschooling. We'll look at critical thinking and metacognition. And we have a whole module on full body learning, which is exactly what we're going to hear more about today.

Jen Lumanlan:

So whether you're homeschooling or not, you'll get all the tools that you need to feel confident that you really are capable of supporting deep learning in your child and learning for the sake of it and for the love of it not because the curriculum says it's what you should be doing. If this sounds like something you need in your life, there are two things you can do. Come and join me for the free You Are Your Child's Best Teacher workshop that starts on Monday, September 13. You'll get just a little taster of what it's like to be in the membership in just five days. Each day you'll get a short email with something to think about or an activity to do. And you'll also be in a private community with other parents who are on the same journey as well. By the end of it, you'll see the amazing things your child is learning when you follow their interests. Even when those interests look a lot like having fun and not much like school. You'll look at your learning values so you can make sure the way you're spending time on learning activities is aligned with those and you'll know how to show anyone who needs to know that learning is happening whether that's a record for your child to look back on for doubting partners and family members, even for yourself. If you doubt your own ability to do this. You can sign up for the free workshop at yourparentingmojo.com/bestteacher. We start that on Monday, September 13 and the membership opens on Saturday, September 18. For the first time this year, I have sliding scale pricing available for the learning membership, and also a two week free trial as well where you can experience everything there is inside the membership completely for free before you commit to staying. You can find more information about the learning membership at yourparentingmojo.com/learningmembership. I'm so looking forward to working with you on one or the other or both.

Jen Lumanlan:

So now let's dig into our topic of learning outside of our brains. And here to help us understand it is Annie Murphy Paul, author of the new book The Extended Mind. Annie is a science writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Scientific American, Slate, Time Magazine, and The Best American Science Writing amongst many other publications. She's previously the author of Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives, which was reviewed on the cover of The New York Times Book Review. Her most recent book, which we're going to discuss today is The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain. She has held a variety of fellowships, and her TED Talk has been viewed by more than 2.6 million people, a graduate of Yale University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, she served as a lecturer at Yale University and a senior advisor at the Yale University Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning. Welcome, Annie.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Thank you, Jen. It's so interesting to hear that run down. It's like this is your life.

Jen Lumanlan:

And how much that leaves out, right? How much of that is as people it leaves out, right? And so you're really draw people into this book with a metaphor. Can you tell us how our minds and our brains are like magpies nest?

Annie Murphy Paul:

Oh, sorry, yes. So, you know, the conventional way of thinking about the brain is as a computer, or alternatively, as a muscle. These are two of the really dominant metaphors in our culture. And I argue that they're very misleading that they carry with them a bunch of assumptions about how thinking happens and where thinking happens that are really misinformed. And so I was searching for a different kind of metaphor. And I landed on the magpie, which is a bird that's famous for plucking bits from shiny bits from its environment, all kinds of things, you know, not just twigs and leaves, but also dental floss and Easter grass and eyeglass frames and croquet wickets. You know, like theirs is an incredible catalog of things that magpies have incorporated into their nest. But the point is that they they draw the raw material for their nests from what's available in the environment. And my argument is, that's very much what we do with our thinking processes. We use the raw materials available to us as resources for our thinking. And that's a very different model, from thinking of from imagining that thinking only happens inside the head, I think that I believe I argue that actually thinking is is the process of assembling a host of extra neural resources, meaning resources drawn from outside the brain. And that learning to do that skillfully is really the key to thinking intelligently.

Jen Lumanlan:

Hmm, wow. And yeah, it also sort of makes us think about, well, how do I know what I know? And just connecting this again to the conversation with Dr. Niebauer, where we talk about the idea that our left brains are basically taking these bits that you're talking about, and trying to make this coherent narrative that makes sense to us and fits with everything else that we know. And we think, Oh, yeah, well, I think this and I remember this, and I know this, and thus it is real, that's it is a reflection of reality, when this gathering process that you're talking about actually has a lot to do with what we remember as well.

Annie Murphy Paul:

That's right. And I liked what you said about how do we know what we know, you know, when we think about it, so much of what we know, is really on the testimony of other people, you know, I mean, more than news media or what we read in books, I mean, once it enters our brains, we tend to think of it as our knowledge, but it's really a collage of every experience we've had, and every resource we've drawn upon. So that means the quality of the resources that we draw upon really matters.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, okay. And so you divide the book up into sections, and you describe three ways of thinking outside the brain. And we're going to sort of roughly walk through those, can you give us an overview of what those are, so we know where we're going.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Sure. So, you know, the easiest way into the idea of The Extended Mind, which is an idea that emerged from philosophy in the late 90s, is to think of our devices. You know, we all know that we offload or we're probably aware that we offload mental functions onto our smartphones, you know, we don't remember phone numbers because our phone remembers them for us. But there are other extra neural resources that can be drawn into our thinking processes, the first of which is our own bodies. So the movements and gestures of our bodies, the internal sensations of our bodies. These are part of the thinking process. You know, I like to say that thinking is kind of a full body process, although, again, we like to think of, or we tend to think of thinking as happening just above the neck, you know. And then the two others that I focus on in the book are physical spaces, the spaces in which we learn and work. And then our relationships with other people are social interactions with other people can become part of our thinking process.

Jen Lumanlan:

Okay, all right, so let's go through these. And let's start with our start close to home with our bodies. You say we think with our bodies, how do we think with our bodies and are some people better at doing this than others?

Annie Murphy Paul:

Yeah, that's a really good question. There are. And I think that's a really interesting fact that we are as a culture so attuned to these distinctions among people, you know, what were your scores on the SAT, what college did you go to, what job do you have, and we don't at all pay attention to this other dimension of a kind of intelligence, a kind of bodily intelligence. And it turns out that people do differ quite a bit on how sensitive they are to their internal cues, which is a process that scientists call interoception. And the standard way of measuring interoceptive sensitivity is to ask people to say when their heart is beating, and there's such a wide variety of ability on this measure, some people say yes, you know, they can say when their heart is beating, and they're very accurate. Other people are like, What are you talking about?

Jen Lumanlan:

I know, what are you talking about?

Annie Murphy Paul:

Well, the good news is it that capacity can be cultivated, and if you care if you care to cultivate it, but it can be because our internal signals can act as a guide for our decisions and our choices. And they can actually give us access to information that we would not have access to otherwise it can be worthwhile to try cultivating that interoceptive sensitivity.

Jen Lumanlan:

How would I go about starting to do that?

Annie Murphy Paul:

Yes, well, the most effective way to do so is a meditative exercise known as the body scan, which if your listeners have done meditation, they may have done it as part of the meditative session, it often starts off a meditation session when you pay attention to your body in a non judgmental, open minded, accepting kind of way. And you focus successively on one body part and move through the body that way. And the idea is just to tune in to our bodies and these feelings that are welling up within us all the time, but that in the rush of everyday life, we often push aside or don't even notice.

Jen Lumanlan:

Okay, and so you cite a lot of research in this book, which is awesome for me. Mining through the references was a fascinating experience. And so you talk about some research where participants in a study can learn patterns through experience, I think these were patterns coming up on a computer screen from memory, and they weren't really able to articulate what was happening. They couldn't describe the patterns, but they could respond to them in a way that indicated they were understanding the difference between these patterns, right?

Annie Murphy Paul:

Right. They learned to predict where a target would appear on the computer screen.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah.

Annie Murphy Paul:

But the pattern that they were using to predict that location was far too complex to be held in their conscious mind. So it was, but and yet they did know it, in some sense was held in their non conscious mind. So then the question is, well, how do you have access to knowledge that is non conscious? And the answer is that that's what a gut feeling is. That's your body kind of tugging at your sleeve and saying you've countered this situation before, and this is how it turned out before. This is how you should respond.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. And that also touches episodes that we've covered on implicit bias. And that was actually how I first started getting into this because I was thinking, Okay, well, you know, I feel like trusting our gut is something we're not taught to do in our culture. And we should start doing that. But wait, what if my gut feeling is telling me something I don't believe and I don't want to follow. And it was amazing to read through the research on implicit bias and I mean, it's a head up field. And that gut field, there is, I could not find research that was talking about how you pay attention to what's happening in your body as a way of understanding that there seems to be a massive disconnect there.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Interesting. Interesting. Yeah, I think there are pockets in our culture where this ability is cultivated, you know, I write in the book about clinical psychologists and how they really learn to read cues off their own body that tell them how the patient or the client is feeling. And that's actually another benefit of becoming more interoceptively attuned is that you can become more empathetic and more sensitive to the feelings of others because you're feeling those, those emotions arise in your own body.

Jen Lumanlan:

Okay, and so then we started talking about, okay, what's happening in my body when maybe when I'm not moving, and you also dig into the research and what's happening when we are moving, like how does movement affect the way that we learn?

Annie Murphy Paul:

Yes, this really strikes me because again, as a culture we think of when we're doing difficult or complex mental work, what do you do you sit down at your desk and you stay there. So I'm moving on until it's done right, and you just keep pushing your brain harder and harder. That's the only the only part that's that's working. But in fact, moving the body is a really can be a really wonderful way to stimulate mental processes in specific ways. And what I mean by that is that you can use different kinds of movements to produce different kinds of thoughts. You know, there's a state called hypofrontality, which I think is so interesting that the brain enters when you do really vigorous, sustained exercise, to the point where the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that is sort of the judge and critic and planner that its activity is diminished, a bit.

Jen Lumanlan:

It only shuts up.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Yes, yes. When you're just so, so exhausted, and you've put yourself so hard physically, you can enter a state that scientists liken to dreaming or even like a drug trip, where memories and associations and thoughts and ideas are mingling in ways that can be they can produce creative insights and original thoughts that would probably be suppressed or critiqued or judged if you were in a kind of more your normal state your regular state.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, yeah, I actually like to use that myself. I go for a long bike rides. And yeah, when you're plugging uphill, and yeah. It's amazing how things come and actually people, my husband, and the people I work with, learn to fear those bike rides, because they know I'm going to come back with some more ideas.

Annie Murphy Paul:

What did you think of this time.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. And of course, this has huge implications for children's learning, which is what parents who are listening are interested in. I mean, you're talking about research that shows increased cognitive load when we're instructed to sit still, and what are we doing all day in school?

Annie Murphy Paul:

Exactly.

Jen Lumanlan:

We are telling kids to sit still.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Right? Yes, it's so unfortunate, because I don't think perhaps teachers and parents don't realize that, you know, it actually takes a fair amount of cognitive bandwidth to suppress the natural urge to move, because we're not really, we didn't evolve to sit still, for long periods. We're creatures who are meant to move around, and especially for children, to control that impulse and suppress it uses some of that mental capacity that could otherwise be applied to learning and to thinking. So really, recess is a great invention, you know, and I think, I think teachers do know that kids who've been had a chance to run around and get their energy out, come back to the classroom, better able to pay attention, better able to control their impulses.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. And you pulled together a variety of different sources looking at different aspects of this like standing desks and doodling. And it doesn't have to be running around or, you know, 60 mile bike rides.

Annie Murphy Paul:

No, in fact, those little movements and you know, I'm just very interested in how our culture often disapproves of many of these strategies. You know, fidgeting is seen as sort of shifty, or, you know, sir, or annoying or something, and, and in fact, fidgeting is this very subtle way to calibrate our arousal level so that we're in this optimal state of alertness. And some kids in particular, those who've had an ADHD diagnosis, they actually need to stimulate themselves by moving around in order to focus. So it's not the case that they need to sit down and be quiet to focus, they actually need to move in order to focus.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, and so the very thing that we're asking them to do is stressing them more. And of course, there are racial implications where some kids may be perceived as disruptive and challenging the teachers authority through doing something that is a natural thing to do. Yeah, lots of implications from there. And you also talk about how physically doing things can help a child to learn them. So walking along a number line, helps them to learn the placements and numbers, physically enacting the motions of a story helps you to understand it better and apply it I mean, it seems like it goes across so many areas of children's learning.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Right. And I think that speaks to what we ask of our brains these days, you know, we didn't really evolve to spend all our time thinking about abstract concepts. We're creatures who are good at moving our bodies and navigating through space and interacting with other people. And the more we can leverage those human strengths in the service of learning, the better we'll think. So it's really it just points again, to the unproductive nature of a lot of the habits that we've taken on in school and at work.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, okay. All right. So let's shift a little bit into thinking with our surroundings. And I think that this one has big implications for parents. And one of the papers that you cite describes how we use cues in our environments to decide what behavior is acceptable. And so I spent a lot of time working with parents who are trying to change their child's behavior in some way. So stop jumping on the sofa or don't climb on the coffee table. And I did an interview with Dr. Diana Hill earlier this year, about concept of psychological flexibility, and she's talked about how her family really values physical movement. And so they change their environment, they have a swing from the ceiling in the living room, which requires a huge amount of flexibility to override these cultural ideas about what a living room is, and what it looks like and what it has in it. And so I'm curious about what other ways you see this idea playing out for parents?

Annie Murphy Paul:

Hmm, yeah. So, you know, this really goes to the question of what our identity is. And we can feel as if our identity is something very stable and unchanging. But in fact, it's very fluid. And we feel that when we travel, for example, that's why traveling in a foreign country can be so discombobulating because all those things that are kind of holding you together at home are not there anymore. And so that kind of reveals just how much we rely on our surroundings to shape our sense of ourselves. But it is the case that of course, we have many identities. And so in a place where you're doing learning or working, you want to have cues that remind you of that identity that prime that identity, so that the things that are salient to you, the things that you pay attention to the way you think about yourself, are all reinforced by the objects you see around you.

Jen Lumanlan:

And so then I'm thinking about, okay, well, if if a child is misbehaving, as it were, if there's a mismatch between the behavior the parent would like to see and what the child is able to do, the common way of thinking about it is, well, I'm going to get my child to change their behavior.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Right.

Jen Lumanlan:

And it seems as though we could or should be thinking about how can I change the child's environment to make them more successful in this family.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Right, because we so often think of self regulation, as emerging from within as something we muster from within. And it's actually much more effective to regulate ourselves from the outside and by changing the context. And I think parents can think in those terms, rather than demanding that their child change their behavior, by mustering up some willpower from within

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, and to fit our context, because a coffee table was something that we find useful. But it's not something that's making a child successful in that environment. And maybe we don't need a coffee table, I don't know. Is that central to our identity? Possibly not. And so that's thinking about how it affects our children at home. And of course, the next place we can think about is in school. And you talk in the book about how generations of families live together in one room houses, which, and we could always see what everybody else is doing, which is awesome for keeping safe, but an enormous cost of cognitive load, because your brain is constantly what's that person doing? What's that person doing? What's that person doing? And it struck me that the modern classroom with 30-35 kids in it is a lot like that house with all these other people in. And so we're putting children in this incredibly cognitively taxing space and asking them to concentrate and focus and learn. And we're actually homeschooling and rather than being in school, and I see that, okay, we spend time periods of time where we go out, we interact with the world, we are in groups where we can have socialization time, and then there are other periods when we're home. And we're relaxed, and there's a very few people around. And it seems as though that sort of environment, which doesn't have to happen with homeschooling, it could happen in school, if we set schools up that way, is more conducive to children's learning. Do you think the research supports that?

Annie Murphy Paul:

I think so. I mean, you know, I write in the book about how as very social creatures, as creatures who are attuned to their environment, to novelty to movement, you know, as I say, especially to the social dynamics, or in our environment, it's actually physically impossible to tune out all those distractions, I think adults will have found this, if they've ever worked in an open office and thought, that's why we need walls, we actually know we need walls to protect us from our own propensity for distraction, especially when we're asking our brains to do this very abstract, conceptual, symbolic kind of work that requires all the mental bandwidth that you can gather for it, and not be dissipating it on on attending to your environment.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. And you described these studies in factories was in Japan, or China, one or the other?

Annie Murphy Paul:

In China, where giving people privacy allowed them to experiment and to come up with original solutions that they would not if they were out in the open. Yes, yeah I think that's...

Jen Lumanlan:

Multiple lines of a manufacturing facility and the researchers are putting curtains around some of the lines so that people can't see in and all of a sudden, the people who are inside the curtain start innovating on stuff because they know they don't have to share it immediately. And they're going to share it. They're going to share that knowledge with others when it's refined when they're ready. But having that privacy allows them that freedom to innovate in a way that they weren't in a public environment. Exactly.

Annie Murphy Paul:

I think it also speaks to another piece of the research on physical environment, which is that a sense of ownership and control of our own space and an ability to determine what it looks like how its arranged is really important and I think that's something we can definitely give to our children and our students to allow them to have some say over what they're learning and studying space looks like.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. Okay, so I wanted to dig into that one a little bit as well. And that was a study of where researchers, I think there were three different conditions. And one of them was where you were given an office and said, you can arrange it however you like and here are some pretty pictures. One of them was arranged for them. And one of them, the researcher said, as the participants done that, okay, I'm just going to rearrange your office now. And the researcher put it however they wanted. And then the one of the participants was quoted as saying, I wanted to kill you for doing that.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Right, right. It felt like such a violation.

Jen Lumanlan:

Right. Yeah, exactly. And, and so the people who were in these offices where they're allowed some control over, it ends up being more productive. But we don't allow children control over their spaces.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Mm hmm. No. And the third condition in that experiment that you mentioned, is was a lean office that was very spare and had almost nothing to stimulate one. And I think that's, we see that in a lot of offices these days, that the ideal is a kind of spare, sleek, modern look where there's no clutter, you know, but those are exactly the kinds of environmental stimuli that can help people think better. But you're right, the sense of ownership and control over what our spaces look like, is not often granted to students. And I think it wouldn't, it might not be that hard to really allow them to have some of that freedom.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, I don't think it would be hard physically at all. It's a profound shift in the way we perceive children as being worthy of that and being trusted to do that. And I think that's a much harder shift.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Yes. And seeing them as individuals, and not trying to fit everyone into the same mold. Yeah. Yeah.

Jen Lumanlan:

So I was familiar with some of the ideas in the book already before I had read it. And one of the ways that I would had started exploring this was the idea that the mind does extend beyond the brain. And at first, my first reaction was, how can that possibly be? And I read this description by Andy Clark, whom you quoted extensively in the book, I think he's a really amazing thinker on this topic. And his explanation was about how when a person is writing, the loop of cognition, yes, it involves their brain, it also involves their arm and their hand and the pencil that they're holding and the paper that they're writing on their eye. And all of this is part of the process of thinking. And you extended that idea to look at how historian Robert Caro I think is how you say his name, organizes the ideas for incredibly complex books on walls. And I know other writers, too. John McPhee is famous for the way that he organizes the narratives for his books. And so it seems as though we can use physical space, it's not just that we can set it up. And okay, it's set up. Now, what do I do? Is that we can actually interact with that environment in a way that supports our learning.

Annie Murphy Paul:

That's very true. And a lot of what's going on there is what's known as cognitive offloading. But you know, we do far too much in our heads, we try to do a lot in our heads in our society. And it's actually often a better idea to try to take those mental contents and spread them out into space, even to interact with it, as you were saying, and to set it up so that you can move around, you can move the pieces around, you can interact with them. And that allows you a whole new set of affordances of a whole new set of possibilities for working with those ideas than if they had just stayed inside your head.

Jen Lumanlan:

And so I'm just trying to think how could I muddle this? You know, I've definitely as I'm developing courses for parents, I've I big sheets of paper that I taped up on our windows and post it notes on and rearrange them. So my daughter's kind of seen them. It's not for a while she was very young probably didn't retain it. But what are some ways that we can actually support children in using these kinds of tools?

Annie Murphy Paul:

Well, Post-it notes are a great one, and also sketching and drawing, can so readily revealed what we know and what we don't know, in a way that if that were kept in our minds, we wouldn't, and also turning ideas and facts into physical objects. I mean, I'm always struck by the fact that we think it's fine for kindergarteners and first graders to use manipulatives when they're learning math, but then we kind of think that kids should set that aside.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, cause they need to do that, right? They're young kids.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Yeah, right. But if you think about how professional architects do their work, they build a model or several models of a building that they're designing and then they interact with that model. They can move their bodies around, they can pull out they can move in, you know, and the cognitive scientists, David Kirsch has said that this is actually a kind of thinking it's a it's a kind of thinking that couldn't happen if they were just doing it inside their head. So I think we adults and also older children, too, can really benefit from turning their ideas into objects and artifacts and interacting with them. Hmm,

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, and also thinking about movement as well. How my daughter will often try and recreate the way an animal moves. And I work with a parent who is supporting your child's interest led learning. And he's so interested in space rockets. And she said he has these full body sort of explorations and recreations of space missions. So it seems as though there's a huge potential as well to see that not as being a baby as being childsplay. But this is actually learning.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Right, right. I was just reading a paper yesterday, that was about how NASA scientists who work with the rover on Mars that in ethnographic interviews with the scientists, they say that they feel like they've become the rover, that they actually embodied the rover, this is not it's an imaginative act, obviously, because the rover is carrying out these tasks many, many millions of miles away. And yet, the scientists have this sense that they've imaginatively embodied the rover. And what struck me when I was reading about that was that we ask science students, we stress how important it is to take this detached, objective kind of perspective on this on the subject and to avoid anthropomorphizing or personalizing the subject. But professional scientists are actually doing their job as well as they do because they create this embodied connection. And I think we could bring that into our science instruction as well.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. And why do we do that? Because science is objective. And science has the answers the answers that can be known. And if we strip out all of the value judgments, which we can never strip out. But if we pretend that they're not there, then we can objectively know the truth. When can we know the truth?

Annie Murphy Paul:

No. And I think we might get closer to the truth if we kind of acknowledged our status as biological creatures who connect to things and understand things through our bodies.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, yeah. Okay. So you mentioned journaling, and sketching. And that was one of my favorite suggestions in the book. And I actually brought my nature journal to share. So this is, I don't know if I'm sure you're writing but my daughter found a monarch butterfly wing and the drain outside and brought it in. And so I sketched it and played with the proportions so I could actually fit everything in and, and as I'm doing it, I'm noticing, you know, what's going on with this? And there are there's more spots on one side, and on the other side, why don't they all show through their scrapes, there's areas where the color seems to have been scraped off, does that mean that the color is on the surface of the butterfly wing rather than embedded in it? And so I think that that really starts to get to some of the ideas about that you mentioned about why we should do sketching because it allows us to see things in a way that I mean, I would never have really thought about that if I hadn't taken the time to draw. It's not the drawing necessarily. It's a magical act, I don't think but the process of doing it focuses your mind in a way that other things just don't.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Right, right. Yes, I read in the book about the importance for scientists of keeping a field though. But one thing that that does is you know, if you're just looking just observing, you kind of take everything in in a indiscriminate way. But when you take notes, you have to pluck out certain details and not others, you have to make a selection from all the things that you're seeing and hearing what you're going to write down. And, you know, one of the scientists I talked to who is who religiously keeps field notebook says, it's not just that these field notebooks are not just a recording of what I'm seeing and observing, they actually become the place where most of my new ideas come from. And it's very generative to put these ideas and observations down on paper, and then they actually become the wellspring of the next thing that he plans to explore.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, and so something that again, you see, I mean, it was fun, I did it because I enjoy it, not for any other reason. And that can be a profound tool that we can use to learn things that are interesting to us and deepen our knowledge of them and retain the information better, and wonder new things that are interesting and may spark new discoveries as well.

Annie Murphy Paul:

That's right. That's right. And I think, you know, whenever I suggest this to people that I often get the response. Well, I can't draw, you know, and but the point is not you, obviously are very talented artists.

Jen Lumanlan:

No, two years ago, I was the same.

Annie Murphy Paul:

You don't you don't have to, it's not about producing a thing of great beauty or perfection. It's about capturing the visual elements on paper in a way that allows you to think about it in a different way.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, absolutely. And I just want to really hammer home here I am not a talented artist. I thought for a long time that there were people in the world who can draw and there are people in the world who are not and I am one of the people here cannot and then I actually read Carol Dweck's book on mindset and I've done an episode on that. And you know, I a lot of the research I think is overblown, but there's a section in it where it shows people who have been trained to draw and their before and after drawings, and I'm like, Well, I draw like that now. Could I draw like that? And yeah, it turns out that drawing is a skill that can be taught. And so yeah, if parents are watching this thinking, well, I can't draw, I could never do that. I couldn't either. You can. It's really about drawing what you see. And that's the critical part, I think that connects to what you're talking about, is that when you are drawing, when you've gone through these sort of technique lessons, you're learning, okay, my eye is following this edge of it, it goes up like this. Okay, now I'm putting that on the paper. It's not that I'm getting this general impression. I'm just going to draw a butterfly wing with a big sort of swoop, and it's roughly the shape. And it's that process of getting super close. Okay, how do those spots fit in with that orange part right there. That's what is the valuable piece? And that's coincidentally, what allows you to be able to draw?

Annie Murphy Paul:

Yes, yes. And I think you can hear from how you just describe that process, how deeply you're processing the information when you have to draw it and that is exactly what allows us to understand and remember information really well.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, yeah. So again, it's also it's super valuable for us. But also, it's valuable for our children as they are interacting with the natural world, or whatever they're interested in to write down if they are able to, or to draw their ideas about what they're doing. And we can save those things and say, okay, you last time you were interested in this topic, you thought this, do you still think that your ideas moved on? Is there anything you want to explore about this that's different from how we were thinking about it last time? We can really use those things to scaffold our children's learning as well.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Exactly, exactly. In an art drawing, and making sketches doesn't have to be restricted to art class, either. It can be used in so many different areas of learning and subjects of learning.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, okay. All right. So let's get into the final third of the book, on thinking with relationships, and I think that people in the US especially have a hard time with this because we we have this idea that if it's not original, it's not cool. We want everyone to be unique, we want all of our child's creations to be unique. And so we don't let them copy from other people copying is bad copying is, you know, to be frowned on. And I actually know that one of my gifts is not in generating unique ideas, but it's in drawing together probably, as you've seen through the course of this conversation, ideas from a whole lot of different aspects of a topic and bringing those together. And, and that in our culture is not valued as much as somebody who has the light bulb over their head going ding. So I'm wondering, how do you think we should work with that and encourage children to learn from other people instead of from and with other people, instead of just sort of being in this I'm going to have an original idea or nothing.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Right, right. Well, you're so right about American culture. I mean, I was surprised to learn when I did the research for this section on imitation, the value of imitation and emulation. How much imitation was the basis of education for centuries that it was just assumed that if a novice was going to become skilled, he or she had to emulate the masters, the people who knew how to do it well already, and that only after extensive imitation and copying, which allows the novice to sort of get inside the act of creation of how it happens, then they could sort of put their own twist on it, but there was no expectation that you should be able to come up with an original idea right out of the gate, which is rather unreasonable. And not one that works very well. So you know, one way that we can encourage or promote imitation, this kind of fruitful imitation among our kids is to show them examples of model work, you know, really models that are accessible, they don't seem impossible to reach, but that are a step or two beyond what the child is able to do at that time. And, you know, I think there's a fear sometimes as you were saying that, that that will questions originality and creativity or that they'll feel intimidated, but actually, we're giving children something to aspire to. And we're showing them what excellence looks like. And they may not be able to conceptualize that until they've actually seen it.

Jen Lumanlan:

It reminds me of the guy whose name I've temporarily forgotten. I'm gonna have to put it in the notes now who worked with the first grade student about on the butterfly drawing.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Yes that was Ron Berger.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yes. Yeah. Okay. You want to tell us about that. I watched the video of it was really cool.

Annie Murphy Paul:

It's very moving. Right? Yeah. So Ron Berger is someone who's promoted the use of model examples of work for many, many years and he encountered a little boy named Austin who drew a beautiful butterfly. And he has that drawing. He carries it around and shows it to classrooms of other children. And when he brings it out, they all ooh and ahh because it is so beautiful, and I think Austin was only in first grade or something, but then he shows them the six iterations of drafts that Austin went through to achieve that final result. And in so doing, the kids can visibly, you know, they can see the process of iteration and the process of revision that went into that final product. So it no longer seems so inaccessible. It seems like a path that they too, can follow.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. And I think a really critical part of that process was that the drafts were happening, not as a response of Austin saying, Okay, what could I do differently, but of his first grade classmates, saying, Oh, yeah, this depart doesn't look exactly like that. Maybe you can make this line more like this. And going through that process multiple times. So he's getting feedback from his classmates to be able to iterate this process.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Yes. So he's very much thinking with his relationships and his interactions with other people in the process of creating that drawing.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. And I wonder if that was more effective for him, because he was getting that feedback from his classmates rather than a teacher. And I'm just thinking about how when you're trying to teach somebody, something, you know, maybe playing guitar or something, and you've been playing guitar for a long time, and you're trying to teach somebody who's never done it before. And you're like, but it's so easy, I don't understand why you can't do it. Whereas when somebody who has just learned something, or is maybe even your peer, and can see things that you are not yet seeing, even if they can't do it themselves, is working with you on this, it's a different kind of feedback that you're getting right?

Annie Murphy Paul:

Oh, very much. So. And I talked about the difficulties inherent in our own system of education, which depends on experts, you know, teachers, teaching novices and the problem there that we have to find a way to always have to find a way to get around is that the reason experts are experts is that they've organized their knowledge in a way that is very different from the novice and it makes that makes it difficult for the expert, because her knowledge has been automatized. You know, she knows it so well. She doesn't even have to think about it anymore. But it's that those intermediate steps along the way of thinking something through or solving a problem are exactly what a novice doesn't yet know, and needs to know. So the expert can benefit from actually putting themselves back into the shoes of a novice.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. And I think this is an incredible opportunity for parents, because parents think, well, I need to know something to be able to teach it. Or if their child asked the question about something, the parent is interested in the parents like, awesome, this is great. I can teach my child everything I know. Whereas when we instead step back and say, Well, what if I actually worked on learning something that they don't know, and this is the I don't know, and this is actually what we do in the membership, where I support parents in following their child's interests, we focus on something first of all that the parent knows nothing about. Because then you don't have to get out of that expert mindset and try not to teach the child, you're in the learner beginner mindset with them. And you're figuring it out. And I think it can be kind of intimidating for parents. It's like, wait, I don't know the answer to this. Shouldn't I know the answer to this? But actually, it's a huge opportunity

Annie Murphy Paul:

And then parent and child are learning together?

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, yeah.

Annie Murphy Paul:

That's lovely. I've never really heard of that. That's a really a nice way to go about it.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. And it completely removes you from that entire problem of trying to put yourself back in a beginner's mindset. Because if you think about it, there's so many topics that you know nothing about, that I know nothing about. It's not that hard to find a topic that interests our child, but we don't know anything about. And it's so freeing to know, firstly, I don't have to convey this lesson to my child. And secondly, that we can learn it together. And that's okay. That's fun. That's interesting and exciting for my child to not be in this relationship where I know everything, because that's where we spend most of our lives. Right. Right. Right. teach your child not being on this one to one level with them.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Yeah, where you're beginners together. I really like that.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. And so I also was thinking about how children learn from their peers and we talked about that a little bit with Austin. And just thinking about the example from the book about grad students who their thinking tends to be kind of different from undergrads, particularly, particularly topics like physics, it's a lot of research on how undergrads and grad students think in relation to physics. And it's not that the grad students are suddenly getting this amazing instruction that isn't available to the undergrads, right. There's something else going on with the peers.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Right. Yes. And I tell that story through the experience of Carl Wiemen who is a Nobel Prize winning physicist who just couldn't seem to, you know, for all his accomplishments in the laboratory, he couldn't seem to get his undergraduate students to think like a physicist. They were still thinking this very rigid, narrow, limited way. And what he finally figured out what the sort of magic ingredient was when by observing his graduate students, because when they arrived at his lab, they were more like the undergrads than not, you know, thinking in this very limited, narrow way. And yet, after a year or two and working in the lab with him, he noticed that they had become almost like colleagues like peers, they were thinking like physicists, and he could have these very advanced, sophisticated conversations with him and what he realized was that it was really the social dimension, not even so much his guidance or mentorship, but the social interactions going on among the graduate students where they were telling stories and teaching each other and engaging in debate that that was really the social piece was really what changed their thinking. And so he incorporated some of that social activity into his undergraduate teaching to help accelerate that process for them.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, yeah. And I think this has amazing implications for parents as well, because one of the questions I get a lot is well, okay, so I'm on board with sort of supporting my children's learning and following their interests and all that stuff. But I have three kids, how am I going to do that? And if you instead flip that and think about, well, actually, they're learning from each other. And I'm specifically thinking of a story that somebody in my membership told where what her older son who I think was maybe seven at the time found the pieces of an old play tent in the garage, they hadn't been used for a long time, and wanted to bring him in the house. And well, what are these? And what are these do? And can we put it together? And all three kids are working on different aspects of this? And what can you reach that? No, I can't reach that, how could Oh, let's put a chair over here. And I'll hold the chair steady, and you can put the thing up and, and so the three of them are working together collaboratively on each of the different aspects of it, you know, one of them can't read the instructions. And other one can What's this word? Say? I'm not understanding that. And so that was not a distraction from learning. That was the learning.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Right. It was happening in the interactions among the Yeah. Yeah, I mean, again, we think of learning and studying is happening when one person sits down at a desk and does the work but in fact, there are all these cognitive processes that get activated in social interactions that are remained dormant when we are thinking by ourselves. And some of those social activities are teaching, and storytelling and arguing. So if we can leverage those social activities in the service of learning, it can be especially effective for teenagers whose brains are so primed to attend to and understand the social world that makes no sense really, that we expect teenagers to come to school and put all that social activity in, they're going on in their minds aside, in fact, we should be inviting it into the education process.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. And it also fits with what we're going to need them to do when they get out in the real world and are trying to solve real world problems. They're not going to sit at a desk and puzzle it out in three weeks, and then come up and say, I've got it. Right, they're going to be we're on collaborative team sharing ideas. So it's almost mind boggling that this aspect is not completely ignored, but very much sort of put down, put off in favor of, you need to learn focus and learn this stuff,

Annie Murphy Paul:

Right. And not explicitly taught or cultivated often, you know, it's like, there's a whole other dimension of learning that we need to be doing this learning of thinking with other people that is not we kind of hope that it comes along for the ride when you assign group projects and things but students are not often really explicitly instructed and how to think with other people.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, yeah. And when we're explicitly telling them this other way that yeah, if you're, you're hoping that this other thing comes along, but you're not modeling it, you're not teaching it, chances are, it's probably not. Okay. So another aspect of this is when you start talking about people working together, you think about arguments. I think that a lot of parents kind of wish that their child wouldn't argue so much maybe with their other children or maybe with the parents. And your view on that is very different. You see arguing is very valuable. I'm wonder if you can tell us about that.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Yes, yes. And that some amusing research that cover in the book shows that children very young children begin developing their skills of argumentation as early as age two, which I think probably won't come as a surprise to many parents. No, but it but that helps us understand that this is a very natural and organic sort of style of interaction that, again, we shouldn't be suppressing, but should be cultivating and educating so that it can be used to help learning. And you know, one of the most interesting pieces of this area of research was, to me the idea that many of the cognitive biases that we hear about like confirmation bias, where we just sort of seek out information that confirms what we already want to believe that those kinds of cognitive biases really are a product of the way that we reason alone, that they don't show up. They aren't so prominent when we reason in the context in which the faculty of human reason actually evolved, which is in social interaction with other people because we're not so good at identifying weaknesses and our own arguments, but we are really skilled at picking other people's arguments. So if we can allow that process to play out where we make our best case, but we also are open mindedly listening to what other people have to say about our arguments and we're in turn critiquing their arguments if we can do that, in the spirit of everyone working together through argument to arrive at something, you know, as close to the truth as we can get, then argument can be a really effective way of thinking and learning and solving problems.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. Okay. And just switching gears a little bit to thinking again, about schools, the trend right now seems to be very much away from this discussion, this argument in schools and towards these sort of technology based solutions, where you, each child gets their personal playlist of lessons, and you'll be guided through it exactly the right pace for you. Yeah, are we on the right track with those?

Annie Murphy Paul:

I don't think we are. That trend really, really concerns me because our thinking processes are so fully engaged by social interaction. And yet, we are creating more and more of these individual atomized experiences for our students, often aided by technology. And, you know, it may be that our experience with the pandemic will dampen a little of that enthusiasm for, you know, one kid one screen, you know, doing their own thing all day, which, unfortunately, is what many of our students ended up doing this year. And it I think it was a big natural experiment that showed that actually is not at all the optimal way for students to learn.

Jen Lumanlan:

And so what specifically about it, do you think even if it's not pandemic times, and we're heading back into school, you know, I'm imagining a school that in San Francisco that I think is closed down now, but that, you know, they would have classrooms where each kid has their own iPad and their own headphones on following their own playlist of activities, and the parents are paying a small fortune for the privilege? And what's wrong with that, even if we're not talking about sort of sub optimal zoom school in a pandemic under not very good circumstances.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Right, right. Well, for one thing, as we were saying before, students are not learning how to think with other people, which is a skill they're really going to need later on. But also those mental processes that are stimulated by social interaction are just being completely wasted. So an alternative that I really like is called the jigsaw classroom, which it structures instruction, such that each student is responsible for a piece of a larger project. And so students have to depend on each other, draw on each other, learn from each other in order to do well. And it's kind of, it's changing the incentives within the classroom such that students aren't competing with each other, they actually need to cooperate, you know, they're still motivated, perhaps by their own wish to get a good grade. But in order to get a good grade, they have to cooperate with and learn from and teach their peers. So I think there could be more of those kinds of structured interactions that leverage the social element in service of learning.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, and some of the research that you cite in the book talks about how tasks are not the same when we do them together versus when we do them individually, our brains react in a very different way, group attention, when we're paying, even if we're just paying attention to something with somebody else, we're more likely to remember that we're more likely to act on it, if we're speaking in front of an audience we are our memory of the material is actually changed, versus if I was to just read a passage by myself. So this is I mean, it's really profound differences in the way we experience the world. It seems like, okay, personalized is good. Something that is uniquely set up for my child to succeed is good, when actually, there's a really big argument for this interaction and classroom that they're going to miss if they are heads down with their own earphones on.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Right, right. And I think that neglect of the fact that when we do things with people, it's a different experience. It's a different cognitive experience than if we do it alone is I think one reason we overlook that is, is again, that computer brain metaphor, you know, the fact is that human beings are, you know, so exquisitely sensitive to context. And in particular, the social context, that we don't always keep that in mind that it's a different experience and often an enriched experience, when we're doing it with other people, as opposed to by ourselves. It's not as if information is just information is just information. You know, it really depends on how and where and with whom we encounter it.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, and I think there are racial implications to this as well, it was a lot of research showing that black students are more likely to want to engage on learning in teams. But when we think about some of the programs, many of the programs that teach children to read in schools, you know, you're going through a series of basal readers and you're getting points. And when you have enough points, you get a pizza party. If you don't have enough points, then you don't get the reward. And it's this very individualized process that pits you against everybody else, and says, Well, you know, if I got the points that I'm better than you and I get to have pizza, and you don't, and it completely ignores this not even ignores it sort of says the team based way of learning and talking about books and getting interested in it. Oh, well, yeah, I'm not on that level yet. But I'm really interested in that. I'm going to go and read it. No, you can't. You're not on that level. You have to stay in your level. They're all If that is just sort of seen as substandard in favor of this mechanical progression, and you'll get a reward at each step of the way, and that's the reward is going to teach you to read.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Yes, our system of education is so hyper individualist. And I think that it's unfortunate that we've imported that ideology into education, which really can be such a collective shared enterprise. Yeah.

Jen Lumanlan:

So I'm wondering what lesson you would like, What lesson, what idea you would like parents to take away from all of this, like, what's the one thing that if they were to hang their hat on and say, Yes, I'm going to take that, and I'm going to apply that in the way that I interact with my child and about their learning? What would that idea be?

Annie Murphy Paul:

Well, I'm going to quote Andy Clark, who, as you say, is a brilliant thinker and a really wonderful wordsmith as well. And he likes to say that we are humans are intrinsically loopy creatures that we like that our thinking works best when we can loop create loops, where we pass information, you know, through our brains, but then out into the physical environment out into our into, pass it through our bodies, so the movements of our bodies, or even through the minds of other people, and actually do that successively, so that that idea is being enriched and is evolving with each loop in a way that just it wouldn't have the opportunity to change and evolve if you just kept it inside your head. So I think parents can bring that idea to their children's studies, to their children's ways of thinking and learning and understand that the more of those loops that they can create or encouraged, the more effective their kid's thinking will be.

Jen Lumanlan:

Hmm. Okay, I love that look for the loops. And so I think there's probably two ways to do that. The first is to look for loops that are already there, look for the loops your child is already making that maybe didn't even seem like learning to you before. And then how can I support my child in creating more loops? What options are there? What ideas are there for creating loops where to help the child organize their thoughts or to convey information to somebody or to experience something with their body that maybe I wouldn't have thought of before I heard this.

Annie Murphy Paul:

That's right. That's right. Itoffers a whole new slate of possibilities and opportunities beyond just sitting there and doing the work which is to often what we expected children and students I think,

Jen Lumanlan:

Yes, indeed. All right, we will look for the loops. Thank you so much for being here.

Annie Murphy Paul:

Thank you, Jen. This has been wonderful.

Jen Lumanlan:

And don't forget that all of the references for this episode a link to Annie's book and a link to sign up for the You Are Your Child's Best Teacher Workshop which start Monday September 13, as well as information about the Learning Membership can be found at yourparentingmojo.com/extendedmind.

Jen Lumanlan:

Thanks for joining us for this episode of Your Parenting Mojo. Don't forget to subscribe to the show at yourparentingmojo.com to receive new episode notifications, and the free guide to 13 reasons your child isn't listening to you and what to do about each one. And also join the Your Parenting Mojo Facebook group. For more respectful research based ideas to help kids thrive and make parenting easier for you. I'll see you next time on Your Parenting Mojo.

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About the author, Jen

Jen Lumanlan (M.S., M.Ed.) hosts the Your Parenting Mojo podcast (www.YourParentingMojo.com), which examines scientific research related to child development through the lens of respectful parenting.

Her Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership group supports parents in putting the research into action in their real lives, with their real families. Find more info at www.YourParentingMojo.com/Membership

She also launched the most comprehensive course available to help parents decide whether homeschooling could be right for their family. Find out more about it – and take a free seven-question quiz to get a personalized assessment of your own homeschooling readiness at www.YourHomeschoolingMojo.com

And for parents who are committed to public school but recognize the limitations in that system, she has a course to help support children's learning in school at https://jenlumanlan.teachable.com/p/school

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