Learning & the Brain Conference

By Beverley Hartman, Head Teacher

A conference on applying brain research to education inspired and invigorated the Bing teachers who attended. The conference, organized by the online academic community Learning & the Brain, focused on enhancing learning, attention and memory.
Head teacher Kitti Pecka and I were among the nearly one thousand educators, parents and clinicians at the February conference in San Francisco. With the great array of renowned speakers, it was difficult to decide which sessions to attend.
Stanford University’s own Carol Dweck, PhD, spoke about the impact of mindset on brain processes, motivation and learning. She has conducted some of her research on this topic at Bing. Adults can use this understanding to encourage a child to keep trying when faced with a challenge. In particular, Dweck asks us to consider carefully the use of praise and type of guidance offered so that we promote a growth mindset. These ideas are presented in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, 2006.
Another prominent presenter was Geraldine Dawson, PhD, the newly appointed Chief Science Officer of Autism Speaks, the nation’s leading autism advocacy group. Its mission is to increase public awareness and provide funding for research on autism. Prior to this position, Dawson was the founding director of the University of Washington’s autism center. She was well spoken and informative about research, specifically about the need for early recognition and importance of intervention.
We left the two-day conference recharged and motivated to apply what we had learned. There’s no doubt that our work with children, families, and colleagues is enhanced when our own knowledge in the field is increased.

A conference on applying brain research to education inspired and invigorated the Bing teachers who attended. The conference, organized by the online academic community Learning & the Brain, focused on enhancing learning, attention and memory.

Head teacher Kitti Pecka and I were among the nearly one thousand educators, parents and clinicians at the February conference in San Francisco. With the great array of renowned speakers, it was difficult to decide which sessions to attend.

Stanford University’s own Carol Dweck, PhD, spoke about the impact of mindset on brain processes, motivation and learning. She has conducted some of her research on this topic at Bing. Adults can use this understanding to encourage a child to keep trying when faced with a challenge. In particular, Dweck asks us to consider carefully the use of praise and type of guidance offered so that we promote a growth mindset. These ideas are presented in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, 2006.

Another prominent presenter was Geraldine Dawson, PhD, the newly appointed Chief Science Officer of Autism Speaks, the nation’s leading autism advocacy group. Its mission is to increase public awareness and provide funding for research on autism. Prior to this position, Dawson was the founding director of the University of Washington’s autism center. She was well spoken and informative about research, specifically about the need for early recognition and importance of intervention.

We left the two-day conference recharged and motivated to apply what we had learned. There’s no doubt that our work with children, families, and colleagues is enhanced when our own knowledge in the field is increased.