Thursday, June 14, 2018

Motivating Middle School Minds

Impassioned educator Christina Issac has never shied away from a challenge—like focusing her talents on tumultuous ’tweens in middle school.

Issac’s experience as a middle school teacher includes teaching sixth-graders at Washington Middle School in Cairo, Georgia. In an interview with the BrainSMART publication, Effective Teaching, Successful Students, she explained that BrainSMART retention strategies transformed her classroom, including inclusion students in special education.

Her students were allowed to look up during tests, to activate the visual part of the brain that is connected to memory. Practical Optimism and the EFFORT strategy helped get her adolescent students in a receptive mindset for learning.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

BrainSMART in Japan

Future Education Tokyo features several of our ideas and strategies as a part of a comprehensive and systematic plan to assist Japan as they seek to provide their young with a foundation for learning and skills so they can create their future. An article on the Tokyo website contextualizes the use of our BrainSMART strategies to help guide students to become metacognitive as a key aspect of active learning.

Active learning and metacognition are featured in Japan’s new course of study to be implemented from 2020 forward. The writer indicates that people may have heard about metacognition in business seminars and employee training. However, connecting to insights from our articles, “The Boss of My Brain” and “Building A Metacognitive Classroom,” it becomes clear that educators and parents can assist students to learn how to use metacognition too. On a personal note, having recently returned from a trip to Japan where Marcus Conyers and I had opportunity to engage with many lovely and forward-thinking Japanese people, we are greatly pleased for our strategies to be seen as an aspect of the Japanese vision for education.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

University College Cork Applies a BrainSMART Strategy to Help Students Have a Successful First Year

Dr. Eithne Hunt, registered Occupational Therapist and lecturer in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at University College Cork, Ireland, includes one of Marcus Conyers’ and my strategies in an article for first-year students.

I found this article a good read and imagine that it could be of great interest for students when they first leave home and go off to college. In this piece, Dr. Hunt references our BrainSMART strategy “Explain It to Your Brain” as a way to assist students to become more metacognitive. Metacognition has been called the #1 key for success across professional contexts.

She summarizes our strategy as follows: “Students who use self-explanation tell themselves what they are thinking and doing when learning, a strategy closely related to metacognition, which is a characteristic of successful student learning and of professional success across careers.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Celebrating BrainSMART's 20-Year Anniversary: Teachers Speak


Koh Huey Min, an educator who attended the BrainSMART seminar in Singapore, uses a number of strategies to improve her outlook on teaching and to help the well-being of colleagues as well. Here are two of the most effective:

 

Clothes Hanger

Being one of the more experienced teachers in the school, I am often given challenging classes to teach, and this did not change in 2017 (nor has it changed in 2018). In order to avoid bringing negative emotions into the next class, I made a point to collect myself during the walk to the next class. If any anger or frustration I was feeling was not shed by the time that I reached the next class, I made myself stand at the door, took three deep breaths, smiled, and walked in.

During the times that the venue for back-to-back classes was the same, I made myself walk out of the classroom after dismissing the first class before the next class came in. Sometimes I went to the washroom, while other times I walked up and down the short corridor outside the classroom. The brief detachment from the physical environment helped me to reset my emotions before the next class comes in.

Friday, May 11, 2018

"Building a Metacognitive Classroom" Featured in New Zealand Magazine

As Marcus and I prepare to present at the popular Hawker Brownlow Education [HBE] Conference, which is taking place May 18-20 in Melbourne, Australia, we are delighted that our work has been featured in a leading teachers’ magazine based in New Zealand. We hope to have an opportunity to meet teachers from New Zealand who may well have read this article prior to attending our sessions in Melbourne.

Our article, “Building a Metacognitive Classroom: Engaging Students to Understand Brain Function,” appeared in a recent issue of Teachers Matter, a 76-page glossy, coffee-table magazine focusing on professional and personal development for teachers with circulation in New Zealand, Australia, and other countries.

Thank you to Karen Tui Boyes, CSP, founder and director of Teachers Matter magazine, for reaching out to us to publish this piece that highlights our work in supporting teachers to assist students to become more metacognitive.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Respecting Others' Points of View Is Theme of Our Response to Education Week's Classroom Q&A

The ability to understand and respect other individuals' points of view is a vital skill that students of all ages should learn. That was a theme that Marcus and I stressed in responding to a question posed by Education Week as a part of the popular Classroom Q&A with Larry Ferlazzo.

The question for this blog post was: "When two or more students are having a conflict, what are the most effective ways teachers can respond to the situation?"

As we pointed out, students can be taught two valuable skills that will pay significant dividends throughout their lives—which is to identify, respect, and seek to understand points of view that differ from their own and to tailor their communications to their intended audience.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Strategies to Stimulate Thinking About Learning

Editor’s Note: In conjunction with the 20-year anniversary of BrainSMART, we are sharing some of our educators stories. All of the featured educators earned their Master’s in Brain-based Teaching curricula and/or the Minor in Brain-based Leadership, co-developed by Dr. Donna Wilson and Dr. Marcus Conyers, co-founders of BrainSMART. Below is a synopsis of one of those stories.

During his time as a special education teacher with Bartow County Public Schools in Cartersville, Georgia, D’Jon McNair used BrainSMART teaching strategies supporting the concepts of state, meaning, attention, retention, and transfer to help students improve their performance in the classroom.

 “I was excited and stunned to learn that cognitive skills can be learned,” he said in an interview for the BrainSMART publication, Effective Teaching, Successful Students. “Teaching kids cognitive skills has been instrumental in helping them feel successful in what they’re doing and getting them motivated to learn.”