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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University September 15, 2008 | Vol. 38 No. 3
Profs Helping Teachers Understand How Young Minds Work

Seminar brings together JHU expertise in brain research and teacher ed

By James Campbell
School of Education

The Johns Hopkins University is combining two of its strengths — brain research and teacher education — to give educators a better understanding of how young minds work and to offer ways to enhance learning.

The School of Education, School of Medicine, Brain Science Institute and the affiliated Kennedy Krieger Institute are presenting this month a joint seminar for teachers to discuss how the latest advances in brain research can affect teaching and student learning.

Hosted by the School of Education's Neuro-Education Initiative, the Executive Function Seminar will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25, in the Education Building, Homewood campus.

"The goals of the Neuro-Education Initiative include providing opportunities for dialogue and collaboration among educators and researchers, providing venues for information sharing across disciplines and exploring new translational research initiatives between brain science and education to create new knowledge for teaching and learning," said John Griffin, director of the Brain Science Institute. "The Brain Science Institute is excited to support and participate in this transformative program."

Mariale Hardiman, assistant dean of the Urban School Partnerships at the School of Education and co-director of the Neuro-Education Initiative, said, "Linking brain research to education is extremely valuable to our understanding of student development and learning. The Executive Function Seminar is one of the first initiatives of its kind by a major university, and we feel the Neuro- Education Initiative is on the cutting edge of bringing together the research with the practice," said Hardiman, who prior to joining Johns Hopkins was principal of Roland Park Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore City.

Renowned for expertise in both neuroscience and education, Johns Hopkins is a natural setting for such a seminar, Hardiman said.

"Johns Hopkins provides a unique location for our Neuro-Education Initiative," she said. "We have world-renowned scholars who have done groundbreaking research in how the brain functions and our education school, which is committed to preparing quality teachers and administrators based on the best available research."

Presenting the latest findings on executive function will be Martha Bridge Denckla, director of the Developmental Cognitive Neurology Department at KKI and a professor of neurology at the School of Medicine, who is widely published on the biological bases for learning disabilities and ADHD in children of normal and above-average intelligence; and Marilyn Albert, professor of neurology and director of the Division of Cognitive Neuroscience at the School of Medicine, who has written extensively on the cognitive and brain changes associated with memory.

The seminar is co-sponsored by the university's Office of Alumni Relations and the Maryland State Department of Education.

Starting in spring 2009, the School of Education will offer a graduate certificate in Mind, Brain and Teaching. The program is designed for pre-K through 12th-grade teachers, school administrators and related personnel who want to know more about how brain research can inform educational practice.

For more information about the certificate program, go to

For more on the seminar or to register online, go to


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