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National Presenters to Deliver
Brain Research Information

Posted June 4, 2003

HOLLAND -- Nationally known presenters will deliver the latest brain research information and discuss its implications for learning during the Third Annual Midwest Brain and Learning Institute, to be held at Hope College on Monday-Thursday, June 23-26, at the Haworth Inn and Conference Center.

The Institute is designed for those who work with students of all age levels. Some 150 will attend, including pre-school teachers, K-12 educators and college professors.

"There continues to be a great deal of research on how the brain functions physiologically," said Leslie Wessman, who is one of the conference's coordinators and chair of the department of education at Hope. "This Institute provides teachers and administrators with an opportunity to apply current information about the brain and how children learn to their classroom practice."

According to Wessman, the Institute itself has been designed in light of neuroscience research and the guiding principle that learners must be actively involved. Registration has been limited to 150, and the settings have been varied to include whole-group presentations, break-out sessions, question-and-answer panels, small-group learning clubs and opportunities for informal discussion.

"It's structured so that there’s plenty of time to reflect and to interact with others," Wessman said.

Major themes will include system change in education, responding to neuroscience foundations of learning, brain research implications for the classroom, and the concepts of diverse brains and diverse learners. Featured presenters who are all authors, researchers and practitioners will include Pat Wolfe, G. Christian Jernstedt, Robert Greenleaf, Pam Robbins, Susan Kovalik, Pat Crum, Ken Horn and Linda Jordan.

Monday, Wolfe will focus on brain research and systems change in education, and will open the Institute with "Brain Research: Fad or Foundation?" She is a former K-12 teacher, adjunct university professor and educational consultant, and author of the book, "Brain Matters: Translating Research into Classroom Practice."

Monday and Tuesday, Jernstedt focuses on the neurological foundations of learning. He is a professor of psychology and brain sciences at Dartmouth College, and an adjunct professor with Dartmouth Medical School and director of the Center for Educational Outcomes.

In a breakout session on Tuesday afternoon, Horn and Jordan will discuss "The Early Brain." Horn is an instructional consultant at Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, and has been a pre-K through college graduate-level teacher. Jordan is an assistant professor of education at Hope, a former K-12 teacher and a trainer for Susan Kovalik & Associates.

A second breakout session will feature Crum, who is a specialist in adolescent development and behavior. She is director and co-founder of the Family Nurturing Center of Western Michigan, and a parent counselor with the Child Protection Team at DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids.

On Wednesday, Greenleaf's emphasis is on brain- based teaching. He is a professional development specialist with Brown University and president of the Greenleaf Learning Center, and is a former teacher and K-12 district superintendent. He will also speak with administrators at a special dinner at the Haworth Center on Wednesday evening.

Thursday, Robbins will discuss "Emotional Intelligence." Some of her publications include the books "How to Develop and Implement a Peer Coaching Program," "The Principal's Companion," "If I Only Knew" and "Thinking Inside the Block: The Teacher's Day Planner."

Kovalik will close the Institute with "Future Visions." A career-long teacher and curriculum innovator, she created the ITI (Integrated Thematic Instruction) model for body/brain-compatible teaching and learning, and formed Susan Kovalik & Associates in 1984 to help educators apply brain research findings using the model.

The Institute is co-sponsored by the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, and Hope’s Education Department. Wessman noted that the college values the opportunity to serve as a resource, and a way of giving back to the local school districts for their work with Hope education students. "All of the planning partners conceived of this Institute as a way of giving to educators in the area," she said.

Additional information about this year's Midwest Brain and Learning Institute may be obtained online at www.hope.edu/brain. Although registration for this year has closed, plans are already in the works for the next institute in late June of 2004.

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