Nationally known presenters will deliver the latest brain research information and discuss its impact on learning during the Second Annual Midwest Brain and Learning Institute, to be held at Hope College on Monday-Thursday, June 24-27, at the Haworth Inn and Conference Center.

Educators, social workers, psychologists and health care professionals are encouraged to attend. Registration is underway.

The goal is to increase participants' understanding about topics such as system change in education, responding to neuroscience foundations of learning, diverse brains/diverse learners, and brain research implications for the classroom. Participants will be part of "learning clubs" organized around similar interests/jobs. The clubs will meet daily to process their responses to that day's keynote session, as well as have the opportunity to meet other experts in breakout sessions.

Featured presenters include Dr. Harry T. Chugani, Martha Kaufeldt, Terri Patterson, Marilee Sprenger, Kenneth A. Wesson and Dr. Sigurd H. Zielke. The five speakers will also lead breakout sessions, as will Mark Amenta and Cindy Strunk, who will focus on the body-mind connections.

Wesson will open the institute with a focus on educational systems change as it is developing worldwide. He works as a consultant for preschool through university- level institutions and organizations across cultures, and will be speaking on the neuroscience of learning and appropriate methods for creating classrooms and learning environments that are "brain-compatible."

On Tuesday, Chugani will lead the participants through understanding the current status of work in the neurosciences. Chugani heads the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Center at Children's Hospital of Michigan, Wayne State University in Detroit, where he is also chief of the Division of Pediatric Neurology and Developmental Pediatrics, and professor of pediatrics, neurology and radiology. He is probably best known in the popular press for his work with Romanian orphans.

Tuesday afternoon, Zielke will share his work with adolescents and why it is important to understand the teenage brain. He is a clinical specialist for Fairbanks Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind., where he is currently developing a model for addressing the multiple problems and symptoms of addicted patients.

Sprenger will serve as a "translator," assisting participants in a deeper understanding of how the research from the neurosciences help educators respond effectively to diversity in the classroom. Sprenger is an educational consultant and an adjunct professor at Aurora University in Illinois and a former middle school teacher. She has authored two books: "Learning & Memory: The Brain in Action" and "Becoming a 'Wiz' at Brain-Based Teaching: How to Make Every Year Your Best Year."

Patterson is principal of Sul Ross Elementary School in Waco, Texas, which was designated an Exemplary Campus by the Texas Education Agency for 2000-01 for its performance in statewide academic testing and attendance levels. She is returning to the second institute to tell the Sul Ross story both Wednesday afternoon and during a dinner session for school administrators.

Kaufeldt is a full-time trainer and consultant with an extensive background in brain-compatible teaching and learning, and is author of the book "Begin with the Brain: Orchestrating the Learner-Centered Classroom." She will bring the institute participants many classroom applications during the final sessions on Thursday.

Throughout the institute, movement consultants Amenta and Strunk will work with the participants. Amenta is an instructor, actor, writer, director and business consultant who has taught acting at Hope and continues to do so at Grand Rapids Community College, and conducts workshops for K-12 students and teachers in creative dramatics and writing. Strunk has taught physical education to kindergarten through fifth grade students at Sul Ross Elementary School in Texas for the past 12 years.

Those interested in registering for the institute should contact Dr. Leslie Wessman of the Hope education faculty at (616) 395-7738 or Registrations will be taken through Wednesday, May 15, for $450. Early bird registration runs through Monday, April 1, for $395. Group discounts are also available. The institute has limited enrollment, so interested parties are encouraged to register as soon as possible.

The institute is sponsored by Hope College, the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District and the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District. Additional information may be obtained on-line at