Sunday, September 25, 2011

Interesting Insights on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning

Now that the conference is over and I'm enjoying a late cup of coffee...What a wonderful experience Aspen and meeting others here has been:) We have lots to do to highlight this exciting new research that supports our programs in teacher education and graduate studies! For example, Marcus and I heard Daphne Bavelier - University of Geneva speak of her research on learning and action video game play, Silvia Bunge - University of California Berkeley present on reasoning training and brain connectivity, and Clancy Blair - New York University discussing executive function and school readiness. We lunched with John Mighton and enjoyed hearing of his research about nurturing math with every child. There is far to much to write about in one posting. Over the course of time, I'll be sharing more.

Friday, September 23, 2011

We are enjoying a great conference!

The New York Academy of Sciences and the The Aspen Brain Forum Foundation are putting on a very informative conference about the educational implications of cognitive neuroscience. A host of well known researchers such as Bruce McCandliss-Vanderbilt are sharing recent findings with regard to learning and the brain. As we listen and dialogue, it is clear that instruction makes the largest difference for children at school. We hope that policymakers take away the point that it is critically important that teachers have the support needed to help all students reach their potential through effective instruction.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New York Academy of Sciences and Aspen Brain Forum Foundation Conference

We are pleased to be at The Aspen Institute attending a conference sponsored by The New York Academy of Sciences and the The Aspen Brain Forum Foundation. The purpose of the conference is to discuss current scientific research and implications for education. Our day started with a lovely hike along the riverside and through the aspens. The weather is sunny and brisk...a perfect fall day! We will follow-up with more information once the conference begins.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Positively Grateful Classrooms

Over the last few days I have had the pleasure of talking with a number of graduate students who are studying our education, mind and brain curriculum for teachers at NSU. These teachers are very inspirational! A theme among them is that they have found the research about the importance of positive optimism fascinating and the practical strategies they are learning helpful in the classroom! One example from their teaching strikes a particular chord during the autumn season-the importance of gratitude. Several teachers spoke with me about positive effects among their students when they encourage gratitude as a part of each school day beginning early in the year. As they bring a spirit of thankfulness into the classroom, students tend to keep it front of mind.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Field Trips: A Great Way for Students to Experience Joyful Learning

If you ask adults what they remember from school days, they often think of field trips! Field trips are a great way to help students gain personal meaning through the learning experience. Some tips for meaningful school field trips are as follows: Engage students in deciding which opportunity to take, make links to important curriculum content you are teaching, take a trip as early as possible in the year, and make links back to the positive experience throughout the year. Trips may be as simple as right in the neighborhood or to a more distant location. When a field trip to another location outside the schoolhouse is not possible, take a virtual trip by exploring other locations with students online!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Effective Teaching in the Learning Zone

When teachers and students are engaged in learning, the class seems to be "in the groove" or "in the learning zone." When this is happening it feels as if the day flies by! Effective teachers provide these experiences often as they continuously improve their expertise and foster student learning. Whereas in the past the focus was more often on what happens in individual minds, many cognitive scientists today focus study on learning as both a social and cognitive endeavor.  Therefore, since school is a place where most of nation's children have opportunity for learning and thinking with others socially, the support of effective teaching is of great national importance. It is teachers who make the positive difference for our children each day! Support teaching!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Welcome Back to School - Good Teaching Matters!

Most realize the importance of good teachers! Today scientists give us one more reason to understand why teaching is key to student success and that teachers should be supported. Educators who study with us have been fascinated to read about experience-dependent synaptogenesis. This process involves the connecting of neurons ongoingly when learning occurs, followed by pruning of those connections that are not frequently used. As a new year begins, do support the important work of schooling our nation's children! Support good teaching practice! It matters!