Watch a Mesmerizing Hourglass Filled with 1,250,000 “Nanoballs” (Created by the Designer of the Apple Watch)

Apple Watch design­er Marc New­son has cre­at­ed an hour­glass that stands about 6 inch­es tall, mea­sures 5 inch­es wide, and fea­tures 1,249,996 tiny spheres called “nanoballs,” each made of stain­less steel and cov­ered with a fine cop­per coat­ing. It takes 10 min­utes for the nanoballs to pour through the glass, from first to last. The action looks pret­ty mes­mer­iz­ing, to say the least.

You can pick up your very own hand-made hour­glass for $12,000. But if your pock­ets don’t run quite that deep, you can set­tle for watch­ing the time piece in the video above. Get more infor­ma­tion on the New­son hour­glass here.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

via The Verge

Relat­ed Con­tent:

An Ani­mat­ed Alan Watts Wax­es Philo­soph­i­cal About Time in The Fine Art of Goof­ing Off, the 1970s “Sesame Street for Grown-Ups”

Why Time Seems to Speed Up as We Get Old­er: What the Research Says

How Clocks Changed Human­i­ty For­ev­er, Mak­ing Us Mas­ters and Slaves of Time

An Animated History of Tea

Self pro­claimed tea geek, Shu­nan Teng’s knowl­edge of her cho­sen sub­ject extends well beyond the prop­er way to serve and pre­pare her best-loved bev­er­age.

Her recent TED-Ed les­son on the His­to­ry of Tea, above, hints at cen­turies of blood­shed and mer­ce­nary trade prac­tices, dis­creet­ly masked by Steff Lee’s benign ani­ma­tion.

Addic­tion, war, and child labor—the last, a grim ongo­ing real­i­ty…. Med­i­tate on that the next time you’re enjoy­ing a nice cup of Dar­jeel­ing, or bet­ter yet, matcha, a prepa­ra­tion whose West­ern buzz is start­ing to approx­i­mate that of the Tang dynasty.

Even die-hard cof­fee loy­al­ists with lit­tle patience for the rit­u­al­is­tic niceties of tea cul­ture can indulge in some fas­ci­nat­ing triv­ia, from the inven­tion of the clip­per ship to the pos­si­ble health ben­e­fits of eat­ing rather than drink­ing those green leaves.

Test your TQ post-les­son with TED-Ed’s quiz, or this one from Tea Drunk, Teng’s authen­tic Man­hat­tan tea house.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

George Orwell Explains How to Make a Prop­er Cup of Tea

10 Gold­en Rules for Mak­ing the Per­fect Cup of Tea (1941)

“The Virtues of Cof­fee” Explained in 1690 Ad: The Cure for Lethar­gy, Scurvy, Drop­sy, Gout & More

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. She’ll be appear­ing onstage in New York City this June as one of the clowns in Paul David Young’s Faust 3. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Large Choir Sings “Black Hole Sun”: A Moving Tribute to Chris Cornell

They paid trib­ute to Prince last year. Now they’re doing the same for Chris Cor­nellChoir!Choir!Choir!–a group that meets week­ly and sings their hearts out in Toronto–got togeth­er and sang Soundgar­den’s 1994 hit, “Black Hole Sun.” Turn up your speak­ers, await the goose­bumps, and even­tu­al­ly wipe away a tear.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Rufus Wain­wright and 1,500 Singers Sing Leonard Cohen’s “Hal­lelu­jah”

This Is What It Sounds Like When 1999 Peo­ple Sing Prince’s “When Doves Cry”

Ice­landic Folk Singers Break Into an Impromp­tu Per­for­mance of a 13th Cen­tu­ry Hymn in a Train Sta­tion, and It’s Delight­ful

Kurt Vonnegut Ponders Why “Poor Americans Are Taught to Hate Themselves” in a Timely Passage from Slaughterhouse-Five

Image by Daniele Prati, via Flickr Com­mons

Amidst what is now an ordi­nary day’s chaos and tur­moil in the news, you may have noticed some out­rage cir­cu­lat­ing over com­ments made by erst­while brain sur­geon, for­mer pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, and cur­rent Sec­re­tary of HUD Ben Car­son. Pover­ty, he said, is a “state of mind.” The idea fits square­ly in the wheel­house of Carson’s brand of mag­i­cal think­ing, as well as into what has always been a self-help tra­di­tion in the U.S. since Poor Richard’s Almanac.

Con­sid­er, for exam­ple, the immense pop­u­lar­i­ty of a book writ­ten dur­ing the Great Depres­sion, Napoleon Hill’s 1937 Think and Grow Rich, which has increased every year since its pub­li­ca­tion. By 2015, the book had sold around 100 mil­lion copies world­wide. Hill’s pro­lif­ic self-help cot­tage indus­try occu­pies a promi­nent place in a dis­tinct­ly Amer­i­can genre, and an econ­o­my unto itself. Books, videos, sem­i­nars, and megachurch­es promise the faith­ful that they need only to change them­selves to change their eco­nom­ic out­comes, in order not only thrive but to “grow rich.”

The notion has had pur­chase among wealthy oppo­nents of a wel­fare state, who find it a con­ve­nient way to blame the poor for cir­cum­stances out­side their con­trol. But it also, as robust sales indi­cate, has wide appeal among the not-so-wealthy. Why? One reason—the pre­scient­ly, acer­bical­ly insight­ful observ­er of Amer­i­can cul­ture, Kurt Von­negut might argue—has to do with the fact that Amer­i­cans think of pover­ty as a per­son­al fail­ing rather than a social con­di­tion, and con­verse­ly con­flate wealth with intel­li­gence and capa­bil­i­ty.

Von­negut artic­u­lates these obser­va­tions in his 1969 clas­sic Slaugh­ter­house-Five, through a char­ac­ter named Howard W. Camp­bell, Jr., an Amer­i­can play­wright who becomes a Nazi pro­pa­gan­dist (and who stands tri­al in Israel in an ear­li­er nov­el, Moth­er Night). Osten­si­bly quot­ing from a mono­graph of Camp­bel­l’s, Von­negut writes, “Amer­i­ca is the wealth­i­est nation on Earth, but its peo­ple are main­ly poor, and poor Amer­i­cans are urged to hate them­selves.” Camp­bel­l’s mono­graph con­tin­ues:

To quote the Amer­i­can humorist Kin Hub­bard, ‘It ain’t no dis­grace to be poor, but might as well be.’ It is in fact a crime for an Amer­i­can to be poor, even though Amer­i­ca is a nation of poor. Every oth­er nation has folk tra­di­tions of men who were poor but extreme­ly wise and vir­tu­ous, and there­fore more estimable than any­one with pow­er and gold. No such tales are told by the Amer­i­can poor. They mock them­selves and glo­ri­fy their bet­ters. The mean­est eat­ing or drink­ing estab­lish­ment, owned by a man who is him­self poor, is very like­ly to have a sign on its wall ask­ing this cru­el ques­tion: ‘if you’re so smart why ain’t you rich?’ There will also be an Amer­i­can flag no larg­er than a child’s hand glued to a lol­lipop stick and fly­ing from the cash reg­is­ter.

The Kin Hub­bard quot­ed here may now be large­ly for­got­ten, but in the first three decades of the 20th cen­tu­ry, he was a humorist as wide­ly admired as Mark Twain or Will Rogers. Hub­bard drew a pop­u­lar com­ic strip based on a char­ac­ter called Abe Mar­tin, and his humor was once described as a “com­i­cal mix­ture of hoss sense and no sense at all.”  The quote above comes from one of Mar­t­in’s many pithy polit­i­cal rumi­na­tions, which include lines like “It’s all right t’ aspire to office, but when a feller begins t’ per­spire fer one it’s time t’ watch out.”

The Hub­bard-quot­ing Camp­bell, writes Von­negut with wry humor, was “said by some to have had the high­est I.Q., of all the war crim­i­nals who were made to face a death by hang­ing.” He also pitch­es his appeals to the com­mon man, and ties togeth­er the “think and grow rich” phe­nom­e­non and the ten­den­cy of so many of the country’s less-well-off to sup­port can­di­dates and poli­cies that rou­tine­ly endan­ger access to pub­lic ser­vices, qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion, and health­care.

Amer­i­cans, like human beings every­where, believe many things that are obvi­ous­ly untrue. Their most destruc­tive untruth is that it is very easy for any Amer­i­can to make mon­ey. They will not acknowl­edge how in fact hard mon­ey is to come by, and there­fore, those who have no mon­ey blame and blame and blame them­selves. This inward blame has been a trea­sure for the rich and pow­er­ful, who have had to do less for their poor, pub­licly and pri­vate­ly, than any oth­er rul­ing class since, say, Napoleon­ic times.

Camp­bell appears else­where in the nov­el in an attempt to recruit Amer­i­can POWs into “a Ger­man mil­i­tary unit called ‘The Free Amer­i­can Corps,” of which he is “the inven­tor and com­man­der.” Near the top of the post, see the char­ac­ter in the 1972 Slaugh­ter­house-Five film defend his alliance with the Nazis and explain his bizarre uni­form in terms one com­men­ta­tor sees as dis­tinct­ly res­o­nant with today’s far-right rhetoric. For all his out­landish pre­sen­ta­tion, he is a com­pli­cat­ed figure—something of an amal­gam of the far right’s show­men and huck­sters and its cyn­i­cal intel­lec­tu­als, who often under­stand very well how the stark divi­sions of race and class are main­tained in the U.S., and exploit that knowl­edge for polit­i­cal gain.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Kurt Von­negut Gives a Ser­mon on the Fool­ish­ness of Nuclear Arms: It’s Time­ly Again (Cathe­dral of St. John the Divine, 1982)

Hear Kurt Von­negut Read Slaugh­ter­house-Five, Cat’s Cra­dle & Oth­er Nov­els

Hear Kurt Von­negut Vis­it the After­life & Inter­view Dead His­tor­i­cal Fig­ures: Isaac New­ton, Adolf Hitler, Eugene Debs & More (Audio, 1998)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Beat Club, the 1960s TV Show That Brought Rock Music to 70 Million Kids in Germany, Hungary, Thailand, Tanzania & Beyond

It took a bit longer for the youth rock rev­o­lu­tion to hit Ger­man tele­vi­sions com­pared to the Unit­ed States–where Amer­i­can Band­stand was already in exis­tence pre-Elvis–and the Unit­ed King­dom, where Oh Boy debuted in 1958 as that coun­try’s first pop show. But when Ger­man tele­vi­sion pre­miered Beat Club in Sep­tem­ber 1965, it would pro­found­ly change the cul­ture.

The show took its visu­al cues from both the UK–with its Lon­don Under­ground-aping logo–and the US, with its go-go dancers. It even bor­rowed some of its hosts from across the Chan­nel, like Dave Lee Travis, who was work­ing at pirate sta­tion Radio Car­o­line at the time.

The show’s pro­duc­er Michael Lecke­busch was a more tra­di­tion­al man who pre­ferred musi­cals to rock, but he knew his mar­ket, and he knew how to check the pulse of the scene, by attend­ing The Star Club in Hamburg–one of the venues where the Bea­t­les paid their dues.

Over its sev­en years of shows, which went into col­or broad­cast right when psy­che­delia was tak­ing off, Beat Club intro­duced Ger­man teenagers to the likes of The Kinks, King Crim­son, The Grate­ful Dead, Cap­tain Beef­heart, Cream, Frank Zap­pa, The Small Faces, The Rolling Stones, Step­pen­wolf, Led Zep­pelin, Jimi Hen­drix, The Who, and David Bowie, among many oth­ers.

In fact, Ger­man acts did not appear on the show until 1971. But by that time Beat Club had also strayed from rock and was explor­ing jazz-rock, fusion, and oth­er non-pop for­mats.

The impact on a coun­try that was used to quiz shows and cof­fee and cake on a Sun­day after­noon can’t be over­stat­ed. It was, as the announc­er Wil­helm Wiegen told the view­ers, a show “by young peo­ple, for young peo­ple.” That sounds like basic mar­ket­ing now, but at the time it was a life­line to an entire gen­er­a­tion.

And soon the effect was felt beyond Ger­many, accord­ing to Ger­man site Deutsche Welle.

But Beat-Club kept the youth on its side, pulling in 70 mil­lion view­ers from approx­i­mate­ly 30 coun­tries — from Hun­gary and Fin­land to as far as Thai­land and Tan­za­nia. At its peak, 63 per­cent of Ger­many’s under-30s were reg­u­lar­ly tun­ing in to the music show.
These were the begin­nings of the youth that would become the Stu­den­ten­be­we­gung (“stu­dent move­ment”), also known as the 68ers. With hits such as The Who’s “My Gen­er­a­tion” and the Rolling Stones’ “Sat­is­fac­tion,” Beat-Club gave its “Beat-friends” the moti­va­tion to stand up and fight back against an out-dat­ed gen­er­a­tion. It was a sound­track for a new life.

There is plen­ty of footage of the show knock­ing around YouTube, includ­ing this chan­nel devot­ed to full episodes, and numer­ous oth­er clips. And though the show stopped in 1972, a nos­tal­gic radio ver­sion con­tin­ues to broad­cast with its orig­i­nal female host Uschi Nerke.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Rolling Stones Intro­duce Blues­man Howl­in’ Wolf on US TV, One of the “Great­est Cul­tur­al Moments of the 20th Cen­tu­ry” (1965)

Radio Car­o­line, the Pirate Radio Ship That Rocked the British Music World (1965)

Watch the Pro­to-Punk Band The Monks Sow Chaos on Ger­man TV, 1966: A Great Con­cert Moment on YouTube

Four Female Punk Bands That Changed Women’s Role in Rock

The Crazy, Icon­ic Life of Nico; Andy Warhol Muse, Vel­vet Under­ground Vocal­ist, Enig­ma in Amber

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at and/or watch his films here.

Slavoj Žižek Names His 5 Favorite Films

Any­one who has read the prose of philoso­pher-provo­ca­teur Slavoj Žižek, a potent mix­ture of the aca­d­e­m­ic and the psy­che­del­ic, has to won­der what mate­r­i­al has influ­enced his way of think­ing. Those who have seen his film-ana­lyz­ing doc­u­men­taries The Per­vert’s Guide to Cin­e­ma and The Per­vert’s Guide to Ide­ol­o­gy might come to sus­pect that he’s watched even more than he’s read, and the inter­view clip above gives us a sense of which movies have done the most to shape his inter­nal uni­verse. Asked to name his five favorite films, he impro­vis­es the fol­low­ing list:

  • Melan­cho­lia (Lars von Tri­er), “because it’s the end of the world, and I’m a pes­simist. I think it’s good if the world ends”
  • The Foun­tain­head (King Vidor, 1949), “ultra­cap­i­tal­ist pro­pa­gan­da, but it’s so ridicu­lous that I can­not but love it”
  • A Man with a Movie Cam­era (Dzi­ga Ver­tov, 1929), “stan­dard but I like it.” It’s free to watch online.
  • Psy­cho (Alfred Hitch­cock, 1960), because “Ver­ti­go is still too roman­tic” and “after Psy­cho, every­thing goes down”
  • To Be or Not to Be (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942), “mad­ness, you can­not do a bet­ter com­e­dy”

You can watch a part of Žižek’s break­down of Psy­cho, which he describes as “the per­fect film for me,” in the Per­vert’s Guide to Cin­e­ma clip just above. He views the house of Nor­man Bates, the tit­u­lar psy­cho, as a repro­duc­tion of “the three lev­els of human sub­jec­tiv­i­ty. The ground floor is ego: Nor­man behaves there as a nor­mal son, what­ev­er remains of his nor­mal ego tak­ing over. Up there it’s the super­ego — mater­nal super­ego, because the dead moth­er is basi­cal­ly a fig­ure of super­ego. Down in the cel­lar, it’s the id, the reser­voir of these illic­it dri­ves.” Ulti­mate­ly, “it’s as if he is trans­pos­ing her in his own mind as a psy­chic agency from super­ego to id.” But giv­en that Žižek’s inter­pre­tive pow­ers extend to the her­menu­tics of toi­lets and well beyond, he could prob­a­bly see just about any­thing as a Freudi­an night­mare.

You can watch anoth­er of Žižek’s five favorite films, Dzi­ga Ver­tov’s A Man with a Movie Cam­era, which we fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture a few years ago, just above. Whether or not you can tune into the right intel­lec­tu­al wave­length to enjoy Žižek’s own work, the man can cer­tain­ly put togeth­er a stim­u­lat­ing view­ing list.

For more of his rec­om­men­da­tions — and his dis­tinc­tive jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for those rec­om­men­da­tions — have a look at his picks from the Cri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion and his expla­na­tion of the great­ness of Andrei Tarkovsky. If uni­ver­si­ty super­star­dom one day stops work­ing out for him, he may well have a bright future as a revival-the­ater pro­gram­mer.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Slavoj Žižek Names His Favorite Films from The Cri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion

Slavoj Žižek Explains the Artistry of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Films: Solaris, Stalk­er & More

In His Lat­est Film, Slavoj Žižek Claims “The Only Way to Be an Athe­ist is Through Chris­tian­i­ty”

Free: Dzi­ga Vertov’s A Man with a Movie Cam­era, the 8th Best Film Ever Made

Alfred Hitchcock’s Rules for Watch­ing Psy­cho (1960)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Animations Show the Melting Arctic Sea Ice, and What the Earth Would Look Like When All of the Ice Melts

It’s no secret that cli­mate change has been tak­ing a toll on the Arc­tic. But it’s one thing to read about it, anoth­er thing to see it in action. Above you can watch an ani­ma­tion nar­rat­ed by NASA’s cryos­pher­ic sci­en­tist Dr. Walt Meier. Doc­u­ment­ing changes between 1984 and 2016, the ani­ma­tion lets you see the Arc­tic sea ice shrink­ing. As the impor­tant peren­ni­al sea ice dimin­ish­es, the remain­ing ice cov­er “almost looks gelati­nous as it puls­es through the sea­sons.” For any­one inter­est­ed, an updat­ed ver­sion of this visu­al­iza­tion can be down­loaded in HD here.

If you’re curi­ous what this could all lead to–well, you can also watch a har­row­ing video that mod­els what would hap­pen when all the ice melts and the seas rise some 216 feet. It isn’t pret­ty. The video below is based on the 2013 Nation­al Geo­graph­ic sto­ry, “What the World Would Look Like if All the Ice Melt­ed.”

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Glob­al Warm­ing: A Free Course from UChica­go Explains Cli­mate Change

Huge Hands Rise Out of Venice’s Waters to Sup­port the City Threat­ened by Cli­mate Change: A Poignant New Sculp­ture

132 Years of Glob­al Warm­ing Visu­al­ized in 26 Dra­mat­i­cal­ly Ani­mat­ed Sec­onds

Music for a String Quar­tet Made from Glob­al Warm­ing Data: Hear “Plan­e­tary Bands, Warm­ing World”

A Song of Our Warm­ing Plan­et: Cel­list Turns 130 Years of Cli­mate Change Data into Music

Frank Capra’s Sci­ence Film The Unchained God­dess Warns of Cli­mate Change in 1958

Watch Episode 1 of Years of Liv­ing Dan­ger­ous­ly, The New Show­time Series on Cli­mate Change

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Stanford Researchers Discover a Smarter Way to Prepare for Exams: Introducing MetaCognition, the Art of Thinking About Your Thinking

Ear­ly in the sec­ond sea­son of Noah Hawley’s excel­lent Far­go series, one of the gruff, lacon­ic Ger­hardt broth­ers shakes his head dur­ing a tense crime fam­i­ly moment and mut­ters sage­ly, “know thy­self.” Chal­lenged to pro­duce the quotation’s source, he says, with irri­tat­ed self-assur­ance, “It’s in the Bible.” The quote does have an ancient origin—maybe the tem­ple of Apol­lo at Del­phi, maybe the tem­ple court at Luxor—and it’s an idea that reap­pears in every philo­soph­i­cal sys­tem from age to age. Even if the self doesn’t real­ly exist, some thinkers have rea­soned, we should still study it.

These days, psy­chol­o­gists call a cer­tain kind of self-knowl­edge “metacog­ni­tion,” a new word for what they rec­og­nize, Jen­nifer Liv­ingston notes, as a con­cept that has been around “for as long as humans have been able to reflect on their cog­ni­tive expe­ri­ences.” Devel­op­men­tal psy­chol­o­gist John Flavell used the term in 1979 to refer specif­i­cal­ly to “how human beings learn and process infor­ma­tion, as well as indi­vid­ual knowl­edge of one’s own learn­ing process­es.” Often defined as “think­ing about think­ing,” megacog­ni­tion involves know­ing what con­di­tions best enable con­cen­tra­tion and mem­o­ry reten­tion, for exam­ple, and prac­tic­ing it can immense­ly improve study skills and aca­d­e­m­ic achieve­ment.

A new study pub­lished in Psy­cho­log­i­cal Sci­ence by Stan­ford psy­chol­o­gy researchers has val­i­dat­ed the idea with exper­i­men­tal data. In two dif­fer­ent exper­i­ments, stu­dents in a con­trol group stud­ied for exams in their ordi­nary way. Those in anoth­er group received an exer­cise called “Strate­gic Resource Use.” “They were asked,” Stan­ford News reports, to think about what might be on the exam, “and then strate­gize what kinds of resources they would use to study most effec­tive­ly.” Then they reflect­ed on “why each resource they chose would be use­ful” and how they planned on using them. It may seem like seri­ous­ly front-load­ing a study ses­sion, but the inter­ven­tion paid off. Stu­dents who got it scored on aver­age a third of a let­ter grade high­er than those who didn’t.

Post­doc­tor­al fel­low Patri­cia Chen, the study’s main author, under­took the exper­i­ment when she noticed that many of her own stu­dents gen­uine­ly worked hard but felt frus­trat­ed by the results. “Describe to me how you stud­ied for the exam,” she began ask­ing them. After con­duct­ing the metacog­ni­tion stud­ies, Chen con­clud­ed that “active­ly self-reflect­ing on the approach­es that you are tak­ing fos­ters a strate­gic stance that is real­ly impor­tant in life. Strate­gic think­ing dis­tin­guish­es between peo­ple of com­pa­ra­ble abil­i­ty and effort. This can make the dif­fer­ence between peo­ple who achieve and peo­ple who have the poten­tial to achieve, but don’t.”

Think­ing about your think­ing can’t make all the dif­fer­ence, of course, but the effect is dra­mat­ic among groups in rel­a­tive­ly sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances. An Aus­tralian study of 2000 Ph.D. stu­dents dis­cov­ered a close cor­re­la­tion between “how they thought about the learn­ing process,” notes Big Think, and “their suc­cess­es and fail­ures in achiev­ing their degrees.” A broad­er study in Britain that account­ed for class dif­fer­ences eval­u­at­ed Year 6 and 7 stu­dents in 23 pri­ma­ry schools. In eleven of these schools, stu­dents were instruct­ed in some­thing called “Self-Reg­u­lat­ed Strat­e­gy Development”—a means of con­scious­ly mon­i­tor­ing the writ­ing tech­niques they used in assign­ments: “Over­all,” the authors write, “the project appeared to have a large pos­i­tive impact on writ­ing out­comes,” espe­cial­ly among “pupils eli­gi­ble for free school meals.”

Each of these stud­ies neces­si­tat­ed meth­ods of teach­ing self-reg­u­la­tion and metacog­ni­tion, and each one for­mu­lat­ed its own ped­a­gogy. The British study spe­cial­ly trained a group of Year 6 teach­ers. “Part of the appeal of Chen’s approach,” writes Jen­ny Ander­son at Quartz, “is its sim­plic­i­ty: any stu­dent, teacher or even par­ent could use it.” And one might rea­son­ably assume that any­one could teach it to them­selves. For par­ents and teach­ers of strug­gling stu­dents, Chen offers some straight­for­ward advice. Rather than sug­gest­ing more study time and resources, first “Look at the way they are doing things. Do you think they could have gone about it in a bet­ter way?” As near­ly every ancient philoso­pher would affirm, we bet­ter our­selves not by acquir­ing more, but by under­stand­ing and using wise­ly what we already have to work with.

via Stan­ford News

Relat­ed Con­tent:

An Intro­duc­tion to Game The­o­ry & Strate­gic Think­ing: A Free Online Course from Yale Uni­ver­si­ty

32 Ani­mat­ed Videos by Wire­less Phi­los­o­phy Teach You the Essen­tials of Crit­i­cal Think­ing

Why You Do Your Best Think­ing In The Show­er: Cre­ativ­i­ty & the “Incu­ba­tion Peri­od”

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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