Monday, April 21, 2014

The Power of Purposeful Joy

Have you ever danced for joy—perhaps even literally—because you learned something that had previously eluded you? In one example, for those among us who are technologically challenged, learning a timesaving trick on our computer or smart phone can elicit that reaction. It’s fun to learn something new and useful, and that is something I call the power of “purposeful joy.”

“Purposeful joy” is a powerful tool in the classroom. A positive mindset allows the power of purposeful joy to spread in your classroom. What exactly is the purpose to your joy? It is to transport your students right along with you to a place of excitement, a place of energy—a place where learning happens. There is no higher purpose than to use your joy to ignite a desire to learn among your students.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Important Connection Between Cognition and Emotion

One of the things that I love most about research in the trans-disciplinary field of mind, brain, and education is how it is constantly evolving. Popular theories may be challenged, revised, and sometimes totally debunked as we discover new information.

Take, for instance, the theory that learning and emotion are two separate, diametrically opposed concepts. As it turns out, this is not the case. We now know that cognition and emotion cannot and should not be separated.

While it is true that learning involves the cognitive processes of thinking, reasoning and intellect, you as a teacher and/or parent should not overlook the role of emotion. Otherwise, you might limit the child’s ability to use his or her feelings as a motivator for higher achievement.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Speaking Engagements in Georgia and California Focus on Brain Plasticity

I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak at two recent events on the subject of neuroplasticity in the young brain and to share practical strategies that will help children flourish in their formative years.

First up was the Early Literacy Spring Symposium, co-sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education and Georgia Reading Association, which took place March 10 at Middle Georgia State College in Macon, Ga. My topic was: “Wiring the Brain to Read: Practical Strategies for Increasing Reading Comprehension.”

Speaking to about 150 educators, I provided insights about the brain’s plasticity and the amazing ways in which young children make connections that help them develop their early literacy skills. I also shared exciting strategies that teachers can use to help students comprehend what they are reading. Those in attendance at the symposium included teachers, principals, curriculum directors and teacher educators, all of whom had gathered to learn about early literacy topics and to discuss such key issues at ‘as’ the implementation of the Common Core Standards.