I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Chris Loper, and I’ll be doing the majority of the writing for Northwest Educational Services (NWES), including the writing for this blog. I studied sociology and history as a university student, and turned my focus to psychology and neuroscience upon graduation. My great passion is using education to empower people to participate in global creativity. I’m also an avid outdoorsman, raised right here in western Washington.
Last month I hobbled up to NWES on crutches, fresh out of foot surgery, resume in hand. Greg Smith (the owner) hired me to be one of his academic coaches, in part because we share a common educational philosophy. We both believe that students should be empowered to take charge of their own learning, and we’re both passionate about providing students with the right toolkit and the right mindset for academic success. We’re also eager to provide parents with information they can use to help their children.
I’m an SAT-prep coach for another tutoring company, and I’ve been providing my students with a “bonus curriculum” consisting of neuroscience and psychology advice. Preparing for the SAT or any other difficult academic endeavor requires more than just the proper knowledge. Students must also maintain healthy bodies, maintain healthy brains, and develop helpful mindsets. All of my advice is based on scientific findings.
Greg is a father of two with nearly three decades of experience teaching, coaching students, and advising parents. Through this, he has developed the wisdom to know what works. When I sent Greg my bonus curriculum, we were both pleased to discover that it lined up perfectly with his experience. We decided that I would write science-based education advice, which would be checked against Greg’s accumulated wisdom. Thus, everything on the blog has these twin stamps of credibility: academic research and hands-on experience.
Although I intend to share scientific findings with you, I will not bore you with the details of the research. The blog will primarily be straightforward advice that you can apply immediately. However, if you’re curious and want to learn more, simply check the citations that will follow each post. The books, articles, and lectures cited will give you an easy place to begin further exploration. If you want more ideas for practical applications of these topics, please ask Greg.
We understand that parenting is complicated and challenging. We know you’re working very hard to help your children thrive in the modern world. We live in a unique time in human history, when the pace of change is accelerating so quickly that it’s very difficult to move forward with confidence. Despite all the chaos and confusion, there’s one thing we know for sure about the future: Learning will be required. Everyone will need to know how to teach themselves new skills and learn new information.
We’re not here to tell you what to do or how to raise your children – that’s all up to you. We’re here to provide information that can help you navigate the modern world. We’re here to give suggestions that work for most people. And we’re here to show you options that you might be unaware of.
This blog will have a lot of advice specifically for students. Parents may find that the advice about topics such as brain health, learning, and confidence are applicable to their daily lives or careers, but please keep in mind that this is an education blog. Whenever you read something here that you think will be helpful for your child, please pass on the information to them, in whatever manner is appropriate. If your child is a high school student, you may simply ask them to read the article and then discuss it together. Younger children will most likely need you to simplify the ideas and explain them in terms they can understand. If, when, and how you share this information with your children is entirely up to you. Still, if you’re struggling with thinking of a way to communicate any of this information to your children, please ask us for ideas. We’re here to help!
This blog will cover a wide range of topics, all revolving around the theme of raising empowered learners. Often there will be a series of posts revolving around a single theme, such as memory formation, dealing with stress, or the psychology of influence. This will allow me to go into depth on important topics without overwhelming you with too much information at once.
Humanity has learned more about how the brain works in the last 20 years than we did in the last 200,000 years. This information is profoundly helpful and surprisingly easy to apply. Many of the blog posts will be practical applications of neuroscience.
In recent years, a new branch of psychology has been developed: Positive psychology is the study of mental health and success – the study of healthy brains and thriving people. In contrast to popular “self-help” material, positive psychology is rigorous and scientific. Many of the blog posts will draw from recent discoveries in positive psychology.
We will also devote some time to addressing modern technology. Technology is a double-edged sword that is simultaneously empowering learners, and distracting them. We will suggest ways to have a healthier relationship with technology – one where we can enjoy the benefits of modernity without losing our ability to focus, without losing our connections to friends and family, and without sacrificing our freedom.
I’m looking forward to sharing my knowledge with you, and I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to help this generation of students. Thanks for reading!
About the Author
Chris Loper has been an academic coach for Northwest Educational Services since 2014. He also writes the popular self-improvement blog Becoming Better, so if you liked this article, head on over to becomingbetter.org and check out his other work. Chris also offers behavioral change coaching, helping busy adults with habit formation and productivity. He lives in Seattle, WA.