Neurodevelopmental Approach to Teaching

PSU has partnered with the Center for School Success (CSS) to create graduate programs focusing in the Neurodevelopmental Approach to Teaching—the only programs of their kind in the country. CSS is a nonprofit organization that helps struggling students achieve measurable success in school and in life. Located in West Lebanon, NH, CSS is the only community-based, educational resource of its type in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Candidates seeking the MEd in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in the Neurodevelopment Approach to Teaching will be able to use recent brain-based research to inform their teaching practice—in particular how to identify, respond to, and manage students with learning differences. Candidates will demonstrate an understanding of themselves as learners and how they can best capitalize on their own strengths, experiences, and expertise in order to become more effective teachers. Candidates will also use their understanding of the neurodevelopmental systems to provide specific instructional strategies to promote self-advocacy and school success.

Another option for students is a 14-credit Neurodevelopmental Approach to Teaching Certificate program.

The Neurodevelopmental Approach to Teaching rationale is based on research, best practices, and professional development standards outlined by PSU’s College of Graduate Studies, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the National Staff Development Council (NSDC), and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Students also may be interested in learning more about the 14-credit Neurodevelopmental Approach to Teaching Certificate or the post-master’s Certificate of Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Educational Leadership with a Neurodevelopmental Approach to Teaching concentration.

View Neurodevelopmental Approach to Teaching video.

Program of Study

  • Master’s Core Component – 9 credits
  • 3
    Seeks to examine the manner in which the behavior, feelings, or thoughts of one individual are influenced by the behavior or characteristics of others. Topics to be considered include social perception, attitudes, gender, social cognition, conflict, social influence, intercultural awareness, prejudice, discrimination, aggression, and group behavior. Fall, spring, and summer.
  • - OR -
  • 3
    This course will provide an in-depth study of the social/cultural basis of behavior and examine the role of mythology as a vehicle for intrapersonal and interpersonal understanding. The major theoretical, empirical, and applied lines of work in the following topics in contemporary social psychology will be explored, including social cognition, interpersonal perception, attitudes, stereotyping and prejudice, the self, and interpersonal and group relations. Mythology will be employed as a mechanism for cross-cultural comparison and as a unifying construct to enhance multicultural understanding.
  • 3
    A study of the historical, philosophical, and social-philosophic foundations of education. Emphasis is placed upon the ideas of the classical, medieval, Enlightenment, and post-Enlightenment periods that have influenced types of American educational systems relative to their mission and purpose. Analysis of how these systems have defined ethics and the characteristics of the virtuous person.
  • 3
    Knowledge and understanding of the commonly accepted research designs. Study of research instruments and statistics used in educational research. Wide reading in various types of research design. Critical analysis of research design.
  • Specialization Component – 14 credits
  • 3
    Participants will be introduced to core principles and the newest research findings related to the brain and learning. The course will focus on the key brain principles, neural networks (i.e., recognition, strategic, affective) and neurodevelopmental learning functions of the brain (e.g., attention, memory, language) and their impact on learning. It is expected that participants will already have an existing knowledge of child development theories; the neurodevelopmental framework will be layered with these theories to understand what a student can be expected to do at a given age. During the course participants will practice the skill of observing for evidence of learning strengths and weaknesses and linking them to academic performance through a case study. Participants must have access to a student/students on a regular basis as a large component of this course requires observation. This course is appropriate for anyone who works with students (child-adult).
  • - OR -
  • 2
    This course is designed to build upon participants' existing knowledge of child development theories and to layer these with a neurodevlopmental framework to understand what a student can be expected to do at a given age. Participants will be introduced to core principles and the newest research findings related to the brain and learning from the fields of neuroscience, psychology, education and health. The course will focus on the three networks (i.e., recognition, strategic, affective) and eight key neurodevelopmental learning functions of the brain (e.g., attention, memory, language) and their impact on learning. Participants will also practice the skill of observing for evidence of student learning strengths and weaknesses and linking them to academic performance through a case study.
  • 2
    This course is designed to build on participants' familiarity with the neurodevelopmental framework through exploration of their own neurodevelopmental profile. Participants will reflect on their own neurodevelopmental strengths and weaknesses, the effect of their learning profile on their ability to learn, and most importantly, how that particular combination of strengths and weaknesses, together with skill and knowledge can be used to positively influence their teaching practice.
  • 3
    This course will provide participants with a deeper understanding of practical ways to apply a neurodevelopmental approach to teaching and learning by examining the neurodevelopmental demands of curricula, lessons, and assessments. Participants will design and implement activities, lessons, and curricula that take into consideration students' specific learning needs. Prerequisite: ND 5000 or ND5005.
  • 2
    This course will provide participants with a deeper understanding of practical ways to apply a neurodevlopmental approach to teaching and learning by looking at student work and addressing instructional dilemmas. Through the use of structured protocols, participants will work as a collaborative group to link observable evidence from student work samples to particular underlying neurodvelopmental functions. The process of Looking at Student Work will be used to inform participants about students as learners and identify specific strategies to support increased student achievement. Prerequisite: ND 5000 or ND 5110.
  • 2
    This course will explore the research regarding student motivation and the neurodevelopmental networks and sub-skills that support or undermine a student's achievement with particular focus on the role of attention in learning. If a student's basic needs are not met (physiological, social and emotional) his/her body must expend energy on those first before it can learn. Prerequisite: ND 5000 or ND5005 ND 5020, and ND 5050.
  • 2
    Attention and memory play key roles in learning. This course will provide an in-depth exploration of the components of attention and memory and specific impacts they have on learning. Participants will be introduced to ways to observe for breakdowns in memory and attention and instructional strategies to support completion of tasks. Prerequisite: ND 5000 and ND 5020.
  • Specialized Electives – 3 credits
  • 3
    This course will help educators involved in school-based support teams to engage in critical refinement of their current student referral process including: forms; time-lines; meeting protocols; and follow-up procedures using a neurodevelopmental approach. School teams will work collaboratively on creating and implementing student analysis tools and procedures. Teams will examine systems for working efficiently and effectively to identify the needs of all students referred for support, and practical strategies to help them succeed, including ways to leverage student's strengths and areas of interest. Session Note: This workshop is designed for teams of 3-6 educators (including at least one regular classroom teacher and one of the following: administrator, guidance counselor, school psychologist, integration specialist, special educator, study skills teacher, 504 Coordinator). The course consists of a 3-day workshop and two additional full days for implementation follow-up, one on-site at participants' school.
  • - OR -
  • 3
    National School Reform Faculty "Critical Friends" are groups of educators committed to improving teaching practices and student outcomes through collaborative work. Critical Friends Groups (CFGs) can be found in schools throughout the U.S.; in many schools, CFGs serve as an alternative to administrative supervision. The key to the success of CFG work is the development of an intimate, yet professional community, where teachers share their dilemmas and push one another to reflect and change. The facilitator or "coach" of the group structures the meeting through carefully selected activities or "protocols" which enable the "critical" work to occur in an atmosphere that is efficient, productive and feels safe to each participating member. This workshop is designed to train future CFG coaches through facilitated CFG protocols and practice. Participants will be expected to go back to their home school settings and lead CFG work with their colleagues.
  • Capstone Experience – 9 credits
  • 9
    The practicum will provide Masters and CAGS candidates with the opportunity to document the implementation of the neurodevelopmental approach into their teaching practice. Note: You may take Practicum over multiple terms, minimum 2. When registering, keep in mind how many terms you plan to take to complete the Practicum (1, 2 or 3) and only register for those number of credits per term.
  • Total for MEd in Curriculum and Instruction, Neurodevelopmental Approach to Teaching Concentration – 34-35 credits

Getting started is easy!

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For information on course registration, cost, course location, delivery options for schools or districts, and prerequisites, contact the Center for School Success at (603) 298-6700, e-mail Leslie Williamson or visit the Center for School Success Website.

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