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.
Rose’s educational career has been greatly influenced by her studies of
brain-based teaching. While earning her Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in
Instructional Leadership, with a Minor in Brain-based Leadership, she
was teaching second year at Sullins Academy in Bristol, Va. She recalls
asking students to write about their most important body part and was
excited that many of them decided to write about their brains.
Rose has sparked interest among her second-graders about the human
brain, based on conversations she had with them describing this amazing
organ that is growing and changing inside them. “Students often get
frustrated when they can’t reach an answer right away,” said Dr. Rose in
an interview for BrainSMART’s publication, Effective Teaching, Successful Students. “Reminding them that their brain is growing when they have to think helps them to persevere.”
Dr. Rose is currently at adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern
University, where she earned her Ed.D. degree. She also is the Library
Media Specialist at Out-of-Door Academy in Sarasota, Fla., where she
taught second grade for six years.
Prior to her study
of the implications of mind, brain, and education research for classroom
practice, Dr. Rose often let her students’ individual preferences
dictate her teaching approach. “For example, if my student was
‘musical,’ I turned (his or her) learning into music,” she said.
“However, understanding the potential of the brain and the need to grow
in all areas, I’ve stretched their brains in ways that help them grow
holistically. If you don’t stretch the area, it won’t grow.”
Or to put it more colloquially: “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
the plasticity of our brains helped me to realize the learning
potential in my students,” Dr. Rose said in the interview. “Explaining
brain plasticity and human potential to my students allowed them to
understand how they are in control and how they can drive their own
brains where they want to go.”