Wednesday, July 18, 2018

BrainSMART In Bhutan



The leaders and citizens of the country of Bhutan, located in the Himalayas, are a thoughtful and intentional people and have shown it by making happiness a priority for every citizen.

As strong advocates for well-being, we are delighted to see that educators there are using our article, “Strategies for Strengthening the Brain’s Executive Functions,” which describes how to guide students on how to further develop the awareness and directive capacities of the mind.

An apparent national interest in continuously improving student thinking, alongside a focus on happiness, should be a formula for continued success and well-being.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Research Project Touts Optimism and Learning

One aspect of the BrainSMART Model that impressed Chuck Balogh was its emphasis on the power of positive thinking to increase academic success. As he described in the BrainSMART publication, Effective Teaching, Successful Students, the then-sixth-grade teacher not only put those techniques to work in his classroom, but he also he designed an action research project around optimism and self-reflection.

Balogh, who earned his M.S. degree with a major in Brain-Based Teaching, did his research with 300 students in the Peoria, Arizona, public school district over almost two full school years. The students in his science and social studies classes came from different economic situations and different backgrounds.

A central goal of his research was to increase the positive thinking abilities of learners through self-reflection. Balogh modeled positive thinking and taught his students the power of optimism. He also encouraged them to write daily in “Happy Books,” a technique he adapted based on BrainSMART research that involves writing about emotions, events, and people in students’ lives that make them feel happy and optimistic.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Using Positivity to Reach a “Tough Audience”

High school students can be a “tough audience,” especially for a physical education teacher, but Marlene Mendes described in the BrainSMART publication, Effective Teaching, Effective Students, how she learned a variety of strategies through the brain-based graduate degree program to create a positive learning state and to encourage students to approach new challenges with an optimistic outlook.

Ms. Mendes, who has more than 30 years of teaching experience, teaches secondary students in San Luis Opispo, California. At the time of her interview, she observed that her studies to earn her master’s degree have underscored the importance of the teacher and students maintaining a positive outlook on teaching and learning.

“I had a student who had a very negative attitude,” she reported. “I talked to her about it and asked her to name three positive things, trying to get her to focus on being positive.” As a result of that conversation, the student turned her attitude around. She started dressing out and participating. She became a lot more involved and a lot less negative.