New blog post - 'make it stick' - a book which explains SSi!

Back from Cardiff, back in the saddle, blogging again - and this is a review of a must read book for anyone who’d like to understand how SSi works, in terms of genuine scientific evidence - hugely exciting stuff.

@Deborah-SSi :wink:

Sorry, don’t know why the snippet is messing up the formatting on the title. Tut.


I think we need a Renaissance in education, Aran: A Renaissance of new ideas. Something, which illumes the individual - not snuff out the candle in our formative years. God, I see, so many dulled eyed people where their spark has already been extinguished…


I can remember when I first started teaching being surprised at how every teacher was meant to figure out what to do for themselves - sure, there were course books and stuff available, but basically it was (and remains) a ‘figure it out for yourself’ kind of deal. I’d presumed that there would be some standard core that had been shown to work!

I firmly, firmly agree. We definitely need a renaissance in education.


I generally keep it quite, but I spent two years doing training in the, Rudolf Steiner, system of education thirty years ago now. Even that lacked something…though, I’ve actually forgotten what I thought was wrong… :blush:

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We ran a community arts project some years ago and the artist who worked with us was sure that everyone who says they can’t draw has been told at sometime thst they can’t draw and then they give up trying. Substitute any skill for ‘draw’ in that sentence and you’re not far off the truth. I’d guess the renaissance starts with telling people they can do it.


I don’t know much about it, but I know someone who is completely steeped in the mores of Steiner (trained in it about 60 years ago) and that person is “od iawn”, to say the least. It doesn’t follow that it was actually Steiner’s fault of course. I’ve also encountered another person who trained in a different branch of Steiner education (probably at a similar period), and he was quite a cool guy, so one cannot generalise.

There is a school of thought that holds that conventional education is less about “drawing forth” (“educare”) and more about “hammering in” (facts, discipline, rules).

There have been moves in other directions, but then the pendulum swings the other way. I think it would be quite a good thing if there was a new law that kept politicians as far away from education as possible.

Right, there should be another rule that says any teacher who discourages or belittles the skills of a child should be taken out and shot (well sent on a re-training bootcamp at least).


I had a different out look to nearly everyone on my teaching course, Michael. I only joined up because my friend told me there was three women to every man on the course; and that a lot of them were fit. :smile:
Some of Steiners ideas did seem a bit out there to me, but others were ok. It did attract what I would call a few odd people…Many thought I was weird though…



My copy arrives today :smile:

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I read the blog post and agreed with it. I would, however, love to see some research on neurological/biological factors that affect ‘make it stick’ learning and how to overcome them.

Example: I’ve been through all of the Southern courses, am starting on Level 2 of the Northern course, listen to Radio Cymru, watch Pobol y Cwm, make up sentences and sometimes dream that I’m speaking Welsh. Yet whenever I sit down to a Ffrin Daeth chat, I forget everything…and struggle with creating the most basic sentences.

I think attending a Bootcamp would help with this…which is why I’m dead set on attending one…but I’d still be interested in research that would explain the above.

That kind of thing happens to me sometimes in English. still very much my first language, so it’s not necessarily a learning thing. Yes to bootcamp, though! :smiley:

Hi Cyd - I agree that research on individual variations in memory formation would/will be very interesting - but I also suspect extremely strongly that what you’re describing isn’t really about memory formation, it’s about domain competence.

In other words, you’ve done the work, you’ve learnt the material (or you wouldn’t be able to keep progressing through the courses) but you haven’t got used to producing it in a conversational setting. I think you’re entirely right that the deep end of Bootcamp would solve this for you - but prior to that, can I ask how many ffrinDiaith sessions you’ve done, and how long they’ve lasted for?

Hi, kind of off topic but it may help with the ffrindiath conversations? I am lucky enough to have a friend who is familiar with the SSIW material. She is therefore able to keep the conversation to what I know. We therefore talk around that and ‘re-set’ once every so often. It doesnt mean we avoid new words etc, but means we dont end up having conversations I have no hope of understanding either. Could you share the written guides with your friend? Just a thought. :smile:

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Hi Cyd. I don’t know what domain competence is, but I’ve had the same problem in the past. I’m improving now. I had a ffrindIaith for a while but I was too in awe of her to make much use of her time. I found it a lot more helpful to chat over skype with another SSIW learner at the same level as me, where we could laugh at ourselves and improve together.

I think that the more times the same sort of sentences get used to coming out of your mouth, the less you have to think about what you’re saying. So you’ve got time left over to wonder if you’ve got spinach on your teeth, or whatever else usually takes all your energy away from confident speaking face to face. Just a matter of training the tongue to come out with the usual stuff, and training the mind to relax and not freeze up. You’ll get there sooner than you think. I promise.

Yes to this. I go to my learners’ group and chat away quite happily, quite often not even thinking that speaking Welsh is at all hard. Then I try to talk to my very Welsh father-in-law (took a few drinks to even attempt a ‘dych chi’n iawn?’ with him) and I’m back to the level of a beginner again … I’m sure he thinks I’m a complete idiot. But I’ll keep at it, and the more I try to speak Welsh with him, the more I’ll be able to, I’m sure.


I treated myself to this week’s New Scientist, dated 28 March 2015 as it had a learning article in it, KNOW IT ALL - the secrets of successful learning. Quite interesting, and I spotted quite a few Aranisms while I read it, like ‘what matters is trying to retrieve the information you are learning, rather than succeeding’, and ‘so you might want to listen to foreign vocab while you get the dinner ready’.

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Apologies it took so long to reply. I’ve not been keeping track of the number of sessions, but I’ve been doing them…minus a few exceptions…once a week since I started. The length varies, and here again I don’t keep track of the exact time, between about 30-40 minutes.

The weekends during which I don’t have a session, I do my best to spend a little more time reviewing my word list or doing some additional Welsh study/listening/practice.

EDIT: Just remembered this odd phenomenon. I have better sessions when I am tired or sad or low, than when I am not, BUT I have (I think) more difficulty remembering individual words and less difficulty remembering patterns…either patterns I;ve practiced via SSiW or those I’ve practiced from a book (things like Gorau po… or Naill…llall)

Right - I now suspect that your ‘forget everything’ may be over-cooking it slightly! If you’ve been putting yourself in that conversation situation that consistently, and if you’ve stayed in Welsh during the 30-40 minutes, I think you’ll discover Bootcamp will be the confirmation you need that you do actually speak Welsh.

One interesting test before then would be to see if you can bribe your ffrinDiaith into doing a couple of 2 hour sessions with you - I think there’s an interesting tipping point somewhere beyond the first hour, when you get tired enough to have to rely more and more on automatic responses, so this could well be worth testing for you… :sunny:

I hesitate to say this…for some reason I feel like I’m ratting out my ffrind…but there are some times that the conversation goes to English. It only happens when there’s a fair-sized chunk of explanatory stuff that needs to be dealt with quickly, or a large chunk of something I’ve either not gotten, or we’ve both been completely mis-understanding what the other has been saying…i. e. I think she’s been talking about being in hospital and she’s been talking about visiting someone IN hospital…and we need to untangle the conversation knot before proceeding.

She has been really great to talk to…and I;m learning more about the game of rugby to boot!

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that the more you can limit this, the better it’ll be for you - because those moments when you struggle to communicate are absolute gold dust for the learning process :sunny:

If I listen the downloads from Say Something in Welsh I am fine but once I have a break I am exactly the same. Do’n I ddim yn Cofio dim byd!