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14. “Prediction” is a tremendously powerful tool.

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14. “Prediction” is a tremendously powerful tool.

Humans (and indeed most animals) have brains for prediction of the future -not necessarily long term predictions, but simple predictions that keep us alive, such as how an animal might attack us or how a boulder may roll down a hill, etc. Through evolution, just as we now attain pleasure from sexual encounters, we have gained pleasure from making predictions and seeing if the predictions come true. A simple example: if you throw a rock in a meadow, you will have an uncanny desire to watch for where it lands. It is very hard for us to throw a rock and then immediately turn our heads away and never at least glance back at where the rock may have landed. This is because when you throw a rock your brain automatically predicted where it would land just before and while your are throwing it (this is how we learn to control our throws). This desire to see our predictions through of course why gambling, sports, and most any kind of games are so exciting and motivational for us. In the same way, if learners are allowed to make predictions of possible learning outcomes, and they make the predictions public, they will be powerfully motivated to see it though (Willis, 2010). This strongly relates to game theory, and the next maxim.

Q. Have you ever been given a riddle or some difficult question that you actually spent time on, only to find that the answer is not available? How did you react? How can you use this interesting human trait for your own students' learning?

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