Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Inspiring Progress Toward Learning Goals

Note: This post originally appeared on Edutopia on May 22, 2015.

by Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers

The topic of metacognition can seem quite abstract—a complex concept for students to embrace. But it is worth the effort to develop a metacognitive mindset in setting goals for learning and in monitoring progress toward achieving those goals. For teachers empowering students to think about their thinking with the aim of improving learning, it can be truly inspiring when they see the resulting changes in students’ motivation, resilience, and learning gains.

A 2014 study by Veenman and colleagues suggests that metacognition, or “cognition about cognition,” may account for some 40 percent of the variation in learning achievement across a range of outcomes. One of the major benefits of guiding students to become more metacognitive is in the context of goal setting and the impact on their motivation when they take charge of learning goals.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Positively Smarter Launches in the U.S.

Our latest book, Positively Smarter: Science and Strategies for Increasing Happiness, Achievement, and Well-Being has launched in the U.S. and is currently available in hard cover, paperback and Kindle editions.

In this pioneering book, Marcus Conyers and I bring together brings together seven principles for connecting the science of neuroplasticity to practical strategies for enhancing the synergy of happiness, achievement, and physical well-being. Moving beyond common myths and misconceptions that these three areas of life are largely driven by innate talent, genes, and external circumstances, the text builds an evidence-based paradigm so that readers can take practical steps to improve cognitive function.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cultivating Practical Optimism: A Key to Getting the Best From Your Brain

by Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers

 Neuroscientists recently discovered that optimism is associated with brain pathways connecting the left prefrontal region to the amygdala. Further research has demonstrated that optimism, traditionally considered to be an unchangeable trait, is a way of thinking that can be learned and enhanced. People with a positive viewpoint have less stress, better creative problem-solving skills, and better health outcomes than less optimistic people. In addition, optimistic learners are more likely to persist in the sometimes-hard work of learning, motivated by the belief that they can accomplish their learning goals.

Many teachers realize that as students become more optimistic, they are motivated to progress through learning difficulties and to attain higher levels of achievement. More optimistic students also have greater resistance to depression and the negative effects of stress. Over the years, we have taught many educators a toolbox of implementation strategies to increase practical optimism and other keys to learning in the classroom.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Living a Brain Healthy Lifestyle

Marcus Conyers, Courtney Mosser, and Beverly Engel recently presented brain health information at a community forum at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, hosted by Chet Evans. I attended and found all three speakers to be highly informative and the audience interaction at the end of the evening refreshing. 

My co-author, Marcus Conyers, kicked off the forum with an informative and highly engaging keynote. Marcus' keynote "Living a Brain Healthy Lifestyle" is taken primarily from our new book with Wiley Education, Positively Smarter: Science and Strategies for Increasing Happiness, Achievement, and Well-being. Since we are getting a number of inquiries about this book, I want to share Marcus' presentation so those who are interested can check it out on YouTube. 

Positively Smarter is a book for both educators and those individuals who enjoy reading self-help books. Rich with research and easy to read, this book provides readers with many strategies for an ever more fulfilling lifestyle! 

Thanks to the Rollins College posting, you can watch his keynote on YouTube at ...