Education

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disseminationMatt Sena is a BrainWise champion, and a member of the BrainWise Board of Directors. He is inspired in his work by thinking about the following formula, given to him by a former professor:

●Think about how many new people you impact in a year when you teach a BrainWise class, hold a BrainWise workshop, or counsel individuals and families.

●Next, think about the impact they will have on at least one other person — perhaps it’s the person with whom they have their primary interactions, or a friend or family member in need of support.

●Multiply that person by one or more, because there could be a generational effect, where children teach other siblings, or parents teach their children, spouse, or other family members. Then you will have an estimate of how many people you can impact in a year.

●Then times that estimated number by the years you teach or provide counseling – and then think about your impact on others.

This formula is guaranteed to jump start any bad day!

BrainWise instructors have a wide array of popular games that offer exciting ways to help students and clients practice using The 10 Wise Ways.  At a BrainWise site in Denver, high school students are used to reinforce BrainWise at a nearby elementary school.  In order to make the learning more fun, the high school students played BrainWise Jeopardy with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders who had been taught BrainWise in their classrooms.

For this project, with the help of the BrainWise instructors, the mentors created their own materials and inserted customized BrainWise questions into the Jeopardy format.

First, they identified five topics for the headings.  Because the game was part of an after school program, they included a fitness heading – “GET PHYSICAL”.    Other headings were “JUST GETTING STARTED,” KNOW YOUR BRAINWISE,” FACT OR OPINION,” AND “COMMUNICATION.”

Then the high school mentors divided the elementary school students into two teams of fifteen students each.  Each team picked a student to represent their team on different questions. The chosen students selected a heading, picked a question, and used others on the team for support.  Each heading had questions under four monetary categories ranging from $100 to $400 and the instructors inserted increasingly difficult questions behind each of the monetary signs.  It was an exciting and fun way to reinforce what they had learned.

BrainWise Jeopardy is a powerful teaching tool.  The headings and statements can be changed, and can be created to be as easy or as difficult as needed.  Competitions between classes can be held, with winning teams answering more difficult questions.  Templates for a wide range of games can be found on the Internet or teachers can create their own.  Either way, students have fun while learning to make decisions using the wise ways.

Please let us know how you use games to teach BrainWise, and we will share them on www.brainwise-plc.org.

 

Prefrontal Cortex HighlightBefore starting a private practice, veteran BrainWise instructor Pat Austin, LCSW, taught the program to high school students with special needs. The students attended a public high school, but their classes were held in a contained classroom. They shared the hallways, lunchroom and other facilities with the general student population. David, the son of schizophrenic parents, had been in Ms. Austin’s class for years. She often wondered how much he was able to retain, and she found out after David had an incident in the hallway when he thought flying clocks were coming to steal his brain. Frightened, he started shouting about the clocks. His classmate guided him through the crowded hallway to Mrs. Austin’s office, where David fell on the floor in fetal position, hitting his forehead with his fist and saying, “I need to find the green, I need to find the green.” When she said she did not know what he meant, his classmate said, “Yes you do! He wants to find his wizard brain!” In class, students colored the prefrontal cortex/wizard brain green, and David wanted to use his Wizard Brain to get rid of the flying clocks. Mrs. Austin called his therapist. Like his parents, David was diagnosed with schizophrenia and put on medication.

Braille Brain

Braille Brain

10 wise ways in Braille

10 wise ways in Braille

Aurora Central High school in Colorado serves a high needs population, including refugees from all over the world.  The school has 300 IEP (Individualized Education Programs) students, and a small number are blind or have visual impairments. School psychologist Karyn Singley Blair is a veteran BrainWise instructor, and serves on the district’s Crisis Team and Brain Injury Response Team. She shared teaching tools they are using with the visually impaired students, including a Braille brain, a Braille Constellation of Support, and a Braille Emotions Elevator.

Braille emotions elevator

Braille emotions elevator

 

Vashi workshop 5After a Rotarian gave Dr. Marguerite (Marga) Theophil  a copy of How To Be BrainWise, Marga immediately saw how teaching the  program’s 10 Wise Ways  would enhance the work she and other educators were doing with children and families across a wide spectrum of populations in India.  She raised funds, purchased course materials, and held training workshops for them.  Attached are pictures taken at a recent workshop she held in Vashi.
Marguerite Theophil, PhD, is training educators in India to teach BrainWise CPR to children, youth, and adults in urban and rural communities. She reports that the teachers love the BrainWise approach and find it complements the Mindful Practices sessions they teach. Teachers find that adding the 10 Wise Ways gives them a powerful and effective teaching tool that helps them, as well as their students.
Dr. Theophil is the founder of WEAVE, an organization that helps individuals by teaching, learning, and connecting. Here is what she says about why she started teaching BrainWise:
I work as a Personal Growth Coach with clients in one-on-one sessions and also teach Mindfulness Practice to groups. I learned that so many of them do not use any form of thinking skills in their decision making! I found that BrainWise it helps them realize they could be more in control of events and strong emotions, rather than let those things control them. I found the two ways really did feed into, nourish & support each other.
Vashi workshop 1 Vashi workshop 8Vashi workshop 4

Dr Li

chinese girls

Xiaoliang Li, M.D., translated the BrainWise curriculum to Mandarin in 2000, and today is teaching  the 10 Wise Ways as part of a tobacco prevention/cessation program for youth funded by the Bloomberg Foundation.   Dr. Li uses Wechat, a mobile text and communications service popular in China.  She will be using WeChat  to connect  with BrainWise.  Prior to founding Pioneers in Health, Dr. Li was a professor of public health at Kunming Medical College, where she trained instructors and taught BrainWise in Kunming and rural areas to youth and adults, including girls targeted by sex traffickers.  She presented her work at a Chinese Women’s Leadership Conference in Hong Kong.

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jennifer dealJennifer Deal is a research scientist and author of What Millennials Want from Work. Research collected by her for the Center for Creative Leadership contradicts popular opinion that categorizes young people as entitled, arrogant and unwilling to learn. She reports the good news that young people recognize their deficits and identify areas where they need to improve, including:

Her suggestions for closing the performance gap are two-fold: students need to take responsibility to work on work skills inside and outside the classroom, and schools need to provide students with the tools and support they need to achieve proficiency in the workplace. BrainWise instructors recognize that a more specific answer would be to teach students the 10 Wise Ways and have them apply them to a wide range of workplace problems. Employers agree that improvement in these areas, as well as others, are needed. (www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/11/12.)
BrainWise instructors recognize that individuals who master the 10 Wise Ways know how to perform and be successful not only at work, but outside work as well. BrainWise helps close the gaps identified by both millennials and employers.

I taught BrainWise to students the school identified as high risks for staying in school.  Gangs were a serious problem in the community, and I invited some former students who were now in high school, to talk with my class.  The news had reported the recent murder of a man who had been shot and killed because he parked his car in a space that his assailant and friends had claimed belonged to them.  Shouting erupted, and the assailant and his friends attacked him and shot him.  I was shocked when one of my former students told the class that the shooter and his friends were his former “homies.”  He said that he would have been with them if he had not learned BrainWise, how to get off his emotions elevator, and to think about the consequences of his choices. He told the class, “They are in jail, and I am in school and going to graduate.”  Brenda B., Middle School Teacher and BrainWise Instructor

The ACR/JAMS grant provides an opportunity to highlight school psychologist Karyn Singley Blair and the 15 years she has spent

POSTER PRESENTED AT “THE CREATIVE BRAIN CONFERENCE” WASHINGTON, D.C.

POSTER PRESENTED AT “THE
CREATIVE BRAIN CONFERENCE” WASHINGTON, D.C.

teaching BrainWise to high school students at Aurora Central High School in Colorado, including those with who are blind, hearing impaired, having autism, emotional disabilities, executive functioning difficulties, cognitive impairment and other emotional and physical limitations.  She teaches BrainWise because it gives her tools to help her students deal with the challenges they face daily, and worked with the teacher who developed the Wizard Brain/Lizard Brain in yarn with Braille descriptors to teach BrainWise to blind students.

The educational team at Wesley Spectrum Highland Services School in Pittsburgh, PA have been teaching BrainWise to children and youth with special needs for over seven years.   Gary Swanson, M.D., medical director of the inpatient/outpatient facility, says that BrainWise is easy to teach and helps children, youth, parents and staff understand “that behavioral and emotional problems are not all due to chemical imbalances or ADHD, but rather the results of developmental connection problems that can be addressed both through therapy and medications.”

Teachers notice that today’s students are in greater need of psychological support, and say  they find that teaching the 10 Wise Ways helps students understand  how to take responsibility for their behaviors, identify support sources and how to contact them, and recognize why problems happened and how to prevent or manage them.

 

Colorado School Counselor Association (CSCA).  Thank you CSCA and Matt Clemens!  Matt wrote a marketing plan for BrainWise as part of his MBA studies at the University of Colorado.  He found that school counselors were large users of BrainWise, and we are excited that our submission, “BrainWise:  Teaching K-12 Students Executive Functions and SEL” will be presented at the annual Colorado School Counselors’ Association (CSCA) conference.  The conference, titled   Superheroes in Education, will be held in Colorado Springs on November 11-13th.  Samantha Haviland, PhD, Director of Counseling Support Services at Denver Public Schools and Presenter Liaison for CSCA said that the review committee had received an overwhelming number of presentations, and congratulated us on our acceptance.  We will present an overview of BrainWise and outcomes that include Colorado State University’s Christine Cerbana, M.S. and Juliana Rosa, M.S. found when they collected and analyzed data on 600 K-5 students at Manitou Springs Elementary School, as well as earlier research Dr. Welsh conducted on adolescents.

Working with BrainWise on the Computer

Working with BrainWise on the Computer

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