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.
For many underperforming students, the biggest obstacle to success is their own preconceived notion that they don’t have the ability to excel academically. Jeremy Green, who has experience as a high school teacher and football coach, has seen firsthand the power of breaking down that misconception and giving students the confidence they need to move improve their performance and their lives.
“If we have students who don’t read as well as they need to, then we need to explain to them that ‘You’re not stupid, you’re not deficient. You can get better, and here’s what we can do to improve,’” Mr. Green explained in an interview for the BrainSMART publication, Effective Teaching, Successful Students. “Our role as teachers and coaches is to sell them on the idea that they can get better. If we improve, we win—period.”
Mr. Green, who earned his M.S. degree in Brain-Based Teaching, use the brain-based teaching concepts in his AP Psychology and U.S. History classes. To drive his students’ performance, he stressed the point that intelligence is not a fixed asset but something that can be enhanced through hard work and determination. He focused on teaching cognitive assets—specifically, such principles as practical optimism, finishing power and organization skills.
“I look at those things not as something you’re born with, but as something that can be taught,” Mr. Green explains.
In some of his classes, the academic requirements were quite extensive. However, Mr. Green found that students could learn if they had the right strategies and were taught effective learning skills.
“The biggest thing sometimes is selling them on the fact that they can learn more than they think can,” he said. “Just because something’s heavy doesn’t mean they can’t lift it.”