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.
second-grade at Rockbridge Elementary School in Norcross, Ga., Mary
Driskill discovered that a little bit of optimism can go a long way.
While earning her Ed.S. degree with a major in Brain-Based Teaching, Ms.
Driskill learned the concept of Practical Optimism that links positive
expectations for learning with positive outcomes. She shared that
concept with her students and was pleased to see the children employ
more positive thinking to achieve better results.
found that it helps to teach those kinds of strategies about how we
learn and how we think,” explained Ms. Driskill, whose story was
featured in the BrainSMART publication, Effective Teaching, Successful
Students. “You can teach children cognitive assets that help them come
up with the right answers.”
Driskill, whose teaching experience includes several years in the
Gwinnett County Public Schools, used the brain-based teaching philosophy
that children can get smarter based on hard work and the drive to
“I agree with the brain-based teaching
philosophy that it’s important to praise students’ efforts and not just
their results,” Ms. Driskill affirmed. “A lot of times, they need be
told that the work might be difficult, but the effort is worthwhile, and
while it might not bring immediate results, eventually it will.”
important concept that Ms. Driskill learned was the vastness of human
potential, and she used that in the classroom to help students explore
their ability to excel at whatever they tried to do.
human has potential,” she said. “It’s just not quite certain when we’re
going to realize it. It might be at a different stage of life than
other people, but we still have it.”