Neurodevelopmental Approach to Teaching

Please note: This program is being discontinued in the fall of 2016 and, as a result, we are no longer accepting new students into the program.

PSU has partnered with the Center for School Success (CSS) to create graduate programs that focus on 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 16-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 Graduate Studies Office, 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.

Curriculum Requirements

  • Master’s Core Component – 9 credits
  • 3
    Recognizing that social behavior occurs within an intercultural context, that include ethical components, students will develop the basic knowledge and foundations necessary to understand and influence social behavior in a diverse society. Texts, readings, and learning modules have been chosen and/or designed to facilitate the student?s ability to understand the nature of social behavior cross culturally.
  • – 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.
  • – OR –
  • 3
    A course for teaching/administrative practitioners in which a local educational problem is examined from the standpoint of how it can best be studied and solved. A blueprint for solving the problem is prepared including: statement and purpose, scope, assumptions/hypotheses, limitations and essential definitions. Course culmination will include collection of data, analysis of that data, conclusions and recommendation preparation that follow appropriate form and style.
  • Specialization Component – 16 credits
  • 3
    This course offers the most recent research findings related to the brain and learning and how they provide the basis for the neurodevelopmental approach to teaching. Participants will be introduced to a framework which includes eight broad neurdevelopmental categories, or constructs (e.g., attention, memory, language) that educators can use to observe, examine and describe student learning. These eight constructs (and their receptive sub-categories) also provide teachers, parents and students with a shared lens and language to better understand and discuss learning. In addition, through examination of a case study, observation of students with whom they work and self-examination of their own unique learning profile, participants will practice the skill of using the neurodevelopmental lens to observe for evidence of learning strengths and weaknesses and how to link them to academic performance. Since a major component of this course requires observation, participants must have access to a student/students on a regular basis. This course is appropriate for anyone who works with students (child-adult). The only pre-requisite is that you must be currently teaching or have permission of the instructor.
  • 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 neurodevelopmental 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 neurodevelopmental 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.
  • 3
    This course provides an in-depth exploration of the components of attention and memory and the specific impact each has on learning. Participants will be introduced to ways to observe for breakdowns in attention and memory through case study work and classroom observations. Participants will also design metacognition lessons that are intended to help students become more aware of the demands of attention and/or memory on their learning of certain tasks. In addition, participants will explore instructional strategies to support attention and memory weaknesses. Pre-requisites: ND 5000 and ND 5020.
  • 3
    In order to stay motivated as learners, students must experience authentic school success. This course will explore the research regarding student motivation and the neurodevelopmental networks, constructs and sub-skills that support or undermine a student's achievement with particular focus on the role of attention in learning. Pre-requisites: ND 5000, ND 5020, and ND 5070.
  • Specialized Electives – 6 credits
  • 6
    Choose 6 credits of specialized electives with your advisor
  • Capstone Experience – 3 credits
  • 3
    The purpose of the graduate capstone is to apply knowledge learned in previous coursework through an approved project. Capstone projects should focus on the following questions: How will the theories learned throughout the program be integrated into a coherent project or experience? How will this work enhance individual career goals? Who are the stakeholders and how will this work assist them? How does this work serve the professional community? How will this work help move the profession forward? Process: Students should plan for approximately 40 hours of work per credit to be earned. The total number of credits earned must be approved by their advisor and noted on their program contract. Candidates must submit Graduate Capstone Project forms with their registration and Capstone Projects must be approved by candidates' advisors and the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies. Once completed, candidates are expected to present their final products to their adviser and/or PSU faculty members. Students who anticipate working on their project for more than one term should register for the appropriate number of credits in each term so that they remain registered throughout the course of the project. Repeatable up to 12 credits.
  • Total for MEd in Curriculum and Instruction, Neurodevelopmental Approach to Teaching Concentration – 34 credits




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