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Educators from India Learn About Brain-Targeted Teaching Model®

June 28, 2016

by James Campbell 

Twenty-five principals and teachers from across India visited the School of Education recently for a presentation on the Brain-Targeted Teaching Model® (BTT) developed by interim dean Mariale Hardiman.

The visit was part of a 10-day professional development tour of schools and universities on the East Coast.

“Our educators are interested in learning about new approaches and best practices that they can take back to their own classroom and schools,” said Harish Chaudhary, a professor in the Department of Management Studies at the India Institute of Technology Delhi. “Seeing first-hand brings it alive.”

Hardiman has been a leading advocate in bringing together researchers in the learning sciences with classroom practitioners.

Interim Dean Mariale Hardiman with the son of an Indian educator.
Photo by John Robertson

“The BTT model provides a framework for instruction informed by the latest understanding of research from the learning sciences,” she said. “It is exciting to see interest in the BTT model by educators nationally and internationally. The model employs a number of strategies to enhance learning including integrating the arts into teaching.”  

The delegation got a demonstration of the approach at Roland Park Elementary Middle school, where Hardiman was principal before joining the School of Education in 2006.

Clare Grizzard, a teacher at Roland Park and an SOE adjunct faculty member, showed how teachers use the arts to facilitate instruction. Students, she said, learning about the patterns of movement in the solar system also investigate patterns in music composition.

“They eventually brought together music and science in a rap-style performance of their poetry about rotation and revolution of the Earth around the sun,” said Grizzard.  

An afternoon presentation focusing on arts-integrated research was held at SOE. Visiting Professor Ranjini JohnBull presented on a previous SOE study that focused on the long-term memory benefits of arts-integrated learning units. This innovative study has led to ongoing research in arts integration through the work of the Neuro-Education Institute.
 
Dean Hardiman closed the event with a question-and-answer session where principals inquired about how the model could be applied to their individual learning communities.
 
This innovative study has led to ongoing research in arts integration through the work of the Neuro-Education Institute. Dean Hardiman closed the event with a question-and-answer session where principals inquired about how the model could be applied to their individual learning communities.

Nishi Misra, principal of a private girls schools outside New Delhi, called Hardiman’s afternoon presentation “absolutely spot on.”

“It added a completely different dimension to what we are doing in experiential leaning,” said Misra.

Another principal from Jaipur, Rita Taneja, is planning to incorporate some of what she learned into her curriculum. “The new school year starts in July, so the timing is perfect.” Taneja, who has been principal of S.V. Public School for the past 19 years, feels her new teachers will be enthusiastic about the new approach.

“I like the Brain-Targeted Teaching Model® approach because it offers a clear path to progress and it appears to get good results,” she said. “I want to take back these ideas and work on finding ways to support students who have a hard time keeping up with the rest of the class.”

Chaudhary said that one of his students, who was not part of this trip, has been collaborating with Hardiman and implementing the BTT model at several schools in India. In a follow-up exchange, Pooja Goyal, co-founder and director of Intellitots Learning in Gurgaon, India, said: “Brain-Targeted Teaching provides a powerful framework for early childhood educators to understand the research in neuroscience and apply it in their interactions with children in order to improve learning outcomes. Intellitots has been using BTT successfully to inform teacher training, curriculum development and pedagogical practice in the early years with amazing results.” 

Intellitots is an early-learning program for children from 18 months to six years of age that applies cutting-edge research in the neurosciences and child development to the preschool years.

Saurabh Patel, one of the organizers of the visit, said “the members of our delegation found the presentations very rewarding. Kudos to Dr. Hardiman for this brilliant piece of work.” 

A math teacher also said: “The Brain-Targeted Teaching Model® opened my eyes to a whole new dimension, and now I feel more confident to reach out to the kids in my classes who don't get the concepts easily.”

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