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Teaching Students To Drive Their Brains Through Metacognitive Learning

Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers, authors of Teaching Students to Drive Their Brains: Metacognitive Strategies, Activities, and Lesson Ideas, sat down to discuss student driven learning methods highlighted in their new book. Metacognition is examined and nicely simplified by Wilson and Conyers as "thinking about your thinking" by forcing the brain to learn more efficiently and effectively.

By teaching students to drive their brains, Wilson and Conyers have seen students take ownership of their learning and become better discerners of information; resulting in higher levels of achievement.

Teacher preparation is also examined as an essential element to embracing metacognitive learning. Wilson points to strategies as "cognitive assets" that can be used as systems to teach not only the "gifted" student but every student. The results have been extraordinary as more and more students have qualified for higher learning classes by adopting metacognitive practices.

Conyers adds to Wilson's explanation by poignantly expressing how our metacognitive skills are the separators between effective and ineffective learning. By driving the brain, students become independent, free thinkers; learnable, teachable and most importantly increasingly dedicated to the results.

Visit ASCD for more information on Teaching Students to Drive Their Brains: Metacognitive Strategies, Activities, and Lesson Ideas

Snip20161111_118Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers are internationally recognized experts in the domain of brain-based teaching and leading (mind, brain, and education) in both professional development and teacher education. Dr. Wilson began her career as a classroom teacher in Oklahoma and realized many of her students were not benefiting from standard teaching practices. Looking for solutions, she became a school psychologist. She then conducted over 1,000 diagnostic assessments and discovered that the majority of students had the potential to be achieving more academically, but had not been taught the cognitive and affective skills they needed to do so. Dr. Wilson then returned to the classroom to co-teach, with a focus on guiding children to learn and use cognitive, affective and metacognitive strategies. The positive impact of that approach led her to seek out opportunities to share with other teachers the implications of mind, brain, and education research to improve student learning and achievement. A longtime professional developer and teacher educator, Dr. Wilson serves as head of academic affairs for BrainSMART, Inc. and the Center for Innovative Education and Prevention (CIEP).

Snip20161111_119Marcus Conyers originally founded BrainSMART, Inc. and developed the BrainSMART(r) program for leading, teaching, and learning. A doctoral researcher at the University of Westminster, he explores processes for improving teaching practice by applying implications of mind, brain, and education science. Conyers is a member of the International Association for Cognitive Education and Psychology and the American Educational Research Association and AERA's Brain, Neuroscience and Education SIG. He has led three-year initiatives with the Florida Department of Education and with Florida Atlantic University, the latter supported by an Annenberg Challenge Grant Award. His audiences have included ministers of education in South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and Ontario, Canada. Conyers serves as Director of Communications for the Center for Innovative Education and Prevention.

Snip20161111_114Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers are the authors of more than 40 books and professional articles for educators, including, most recently, Teaching Students to Drive Their Brains: Metacognitive Strategies, Activities, and Lesson Ideas (ASCD, 2016), Smarter Teacher Leadership: Neuroscience and the Power of Purposeful Collaboration (Teachers College Press, 2016), Positively Smarter: Science and Strategies for Increasing Happiness, Achievement, and Well-Being (Wiley Blackwell, 2015), Five Big Ideas for Effective Teaching: Connecting Mind, Brain, and Education Research to Classroom Practice (Teachers College Press, 2013) and Flourishing in the First Five Years: Connecting Implications from Mind, Brain, and Education Research to the Development of Young Children (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2013). Wilson and Conyers' articles have been featured in Kappan and Educational Leadership with ASCD.

The team has led professional development for more than 160,000 educators in 35 states and at various locations around the world. Wilson and Conyers have presented with many professional organizations such as NEA, Jamaica Teachers Union, ASCD, Title I, Learning Forward, American Educational Research Association, International Association for Cognitive Education and Psychology, American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education, National Association of Elementary School Principals, Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes, National Association of Secondary School Principals. Leiden University in the Netherlands, Florida Atlantic University, University of Central Florida, and Cambridge University, and Rollins College. Dr. Wilson also serves as an assessor on National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence teams.

Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers are co-developers of the curriculum for the Master of Science and Educational Specialist degree programs with majors in Brain-Based Teaching and Reading and Literacy. Their higher education curriculum in teacher education also includes courses at the doctoral level. Today, graduates from programs in Brain-Based Teaching based on the curriculum Wilson and Conyers co-developed are supporting student achievement in 47 U.S. states, Canada, Japan, South Korea, China, the United Arab Emirates, Bermuda, Malaysia, Vietnam, Guam, France, and Germany.

To learn more with Donna Wilson's and Marcus Conyers, visit www.brainsmart.org

Dr. Rod Berger, an industry leader in communications strategies for education companies, is a global education media personality featured on edCircuit, in EdTech Review India, Scholastic's District Administrator, and Forbes. As an industry personality, Dr. Berger has interviewed Ministers of Education, leading voices like Sir Ken Robinson, U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and others.


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