3 Things: Thought Quality, Wide Knowledge, Formula for Flow

Happy Friday!

Let’s get straight to it. Here are 3 Things about learning and education to contemplate going into your weekend.

I. Thought Quality

There are many purposes for education but ultimately, learning is the pathway to improving the quality of our thoughts.


“The quality of our thought depends on the background knowledge and feelings we each bring to bear…everything we read adds to a reservoir of knowledge that is the basis of our ability to comprehend and to predict whatever we read.”

Reader, Come Home by Maryanne Wolfe

II. Wide Knowledge

The wider the knowledge available, the greater the ability to notice patterns and identify deep structures – the fuel for transfer, problem solving, and creativity.


“Most of critical thinking is not a stand-alone skill, and is better thought of as intertwined with knowledge.”

– Dan Willingham via rEDHome 2020

III. Formula for Flow

Here’s a simple formula to develop the state of focused attention our brains crave:

Flow = Attention + Requisite Skills + Feedback


The 3 Keys to Flow:

  1. A clear challenge that fully engages your attention
  2. You have the skills to meet the challenge
  3. You get immediate feedback about how you are doing at each step (the progress principle)

The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt

My favorite practices to cultivate flow: cleaning, meditation, yoga, reading, writing, exercise. How about you?

On Sunday morning, I’ll be publishing a new article “Too Distracted to Learn: The Lost Art of Paying Attention.” You can get that delivered right to your inbox by subscribing for email updates at the top right of this page.

Until then, catch you next Friday!

-Jon Gustafson


PS: Here are some of my favorite education finds from the week:

Clear Teacher Explanations 2f: Dual Coding Mistakes by Pritesh Raichura

Adapting Direct Instruction to Remote Learning by Brad Nguyen

Online Learning: Varying lectures with tests improves attention, note-taking, and retention by Peter Reuell

Five Essential Article Reads for Teachers by Blake Harvard

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