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

Marilyn Welsh, Ph.D.

Marilyn Welsh, Ph.D.

University of Northern Colorado professor and executive functions expert Marilyn Welsh, PhD, presented results on research of BrainWise taught to homeless men at the 2016 International Neuropsychological Society meetings in Boston, Massachusetts.   The Treatment group, taught the BrainWise
program, included 210 males.  The smaller Comparison group had 61 men.  The groups did not differ significantly on age, race, or education.  The objective of the project was to evaluate the effectiveness of BrainWise and to measure changes, if any, in self-reported executive functions, problem solving skills, and coping self-efficacy  of the participants.

The results found that teaching BrainWise to homeless men was related to significant improvements in executive functions as measured by emotional control, planning, inhibition of impulses, working memory, task monitoring, and self-monitoring; coping self-efficacy and knowledge of critical thinking skills.  The comparison group exhibited a much smaller set of improvements and decreased problem solving skills.  For a copy of the poster, click BrainWise INS 2016 FINAL

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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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Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky, PhD, is an expert on the brain.  The following article on stress and its negative effect on empathy supports the importance of being low or off your emotions elevator in order to make good choices. The article discusses research that explains why individuals who are considerate of others and show empathy — Wise Way #10 and a higher level thinking skill — must be in control of their stress, as well as the many emotions related to stress.

 

 empathy Humans—and mice—are much more likely to feel empathy toward friends than strangers. New research finds that stress hormones are to blame, writes Robert M. Sapolsky Photo: Getty Images

Feeling someone else’s pain can alter how we feel about our own.

SapolskyBy  Robert M. Sapolsky

The Wall Street Journal  Jan. 16, 2015

Among the many contradictions of humans, some of the more striking ones concern empathy. Our hearts break at a disaster on another continent, and we send money to people whose faces we will never see. We look after the well-being of our pets with deep, empathic concern. We feel the pain of characters in a novel. But at the same time, we can walk past a homeless person sleeping on the sidewalk without noticing him. It’s no news that we’re one very complicated species.     For full article, click here

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.

rsz_sachs The late Oliver Sacks, M.D., a neurologist and well-known author (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Awakenings, and Hallucinations) used stories to explain human behaviors and medical issues.  Story telling is a powerful way to present information, and BrainWise instructors have many stories to tell.  Please submit your own stories, and we will share them with other instructors.  We also will send you an autographed copy of How to be BrainWise for your story

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

David is a special needs student who had been in my BrainWise class for three years and now was aging out of high school.  I often wondered if he had learned anything at all. At the end of the school year, he and Ed, a classmate, were in a student-filled hall when David had a psychotic episode – he saw flying clocks coming to steal his brain.  He was terrified, and started hitting is head and shouting.  The other students made comments and got out of his way as Ed led him to my office. David fell to the floor in a fetal position, hitting his forehead, saying he needed to find the green. I told him that I did not know what “the green” was, and Ed replied:  “Yes you do!  He wants to find his Wizard Brain.”  I realized that David connected “the green” with his prefrontal cortex.  In class, he had learned that that was the thinking part of the brain. On a picture of the brain, we called the prefrontal cortex the Wizard Brain and colored it green.  David as trying to use his Wizard Brain to help him get rid of the clocks!   I stabilized David, called his parents, and contacted his doctor and social worker.  David was hospitalized and put on meds.  His parents were schizophrenics, and David was, too.  Pat A., High School Counselor and BrainWise Instructor

rsz_1rsz_csca_hero_blueborder_10-14School counselors have been longtime BrainWise champions and supporters, and helped pilot the first courses taught to at-risk teens.  Today, they continue to be the largest group of program users.  The BrainWise team presented a session at the 2015 Colorado School Counselors’ Association Conference, and received high evaluations from participants.

Afterwards, some of the counselors talked about how they planned to introduce BrainWise throughout their schools, and how they will work to create a school-wide culture that reinforces the concepts.  These outstanding educators help students deal with formidable issues on a daily basis, and live up the conference’s theme:  School Counselors:  The Super Heroes of Education.

Tricia Jones, Ph.D., President, Faculty Senate, Professor, Department of Strategic Communication, Temple University, and Board Member, the Association of Conflict Resolution (ACR), invited the BrainWise organization to submit a grant for the 2015 ACR/JAMS Funding Cycle.  The focus of the grant was a project that supported the development, implementation and/or assessment of conflict education serving special needs youth populations.  BrainWise responded with  a 175-page document that proposed teaching BrainWise enhanced with the BrainWise online course infused with conflict problems faced by youth with special needs  (i.e., youth with intellectual disabilities, social emotional/emotional disabilities, learning disabilities, hearing and/or visually impaired, physical disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, autism spectrum disorders, and other disabilities).

The turn-around time for the grant  was short, and heartfelt thanks go out to BrainWise board members  Matt Sena, M.S. (help writing the grant), Dan Himelspach, J.D. (finding the grant), and Don Eberle, J.D.  (editing and organizing the grant).  Master BrainWise teacher, Karyn Singley Blair, School Psychologist at Aurora Central High School, teaches BrainWise to “exceptional students,” including special needs.  Karyn was thrilled to be part of the grant and wrote a letter saying her classroom would be a teaching site.  Similarly, Susan McAlonan, Ph.D., Director of Student Services at HOPE Online Academy, volunteered special needs students attending HOPE, an innovative blended learning school, as another project site.

Dr. Jones and the ACR Board will notify grant recipients in November.   This is an exciting opportunity to showcase BrainWise as a conflict resolution intervention, publicize the program’s use with students who have special needs, and get the BrainWise online program up and running.

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