Neuroplasticity: Educators as Brain-changers

Educators deep dive into neuroplasticity to explore how it informs oneŠ—Ès Mind, Brain, and Education Science mindset, skills, and knowledge.
Made by Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

The educator demonstrates an understanding of neuroplasticity and the belief in the ability of each student and faculty member to rewire their brains to improve on current strengths and weaknesses in relation to teaching and learning.

Method Components

This micro-credential forms one part of the research-informed framework for teaching Mind, Brain, Education science to educators and school leaders developed by the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning. We suggest you complete this stack in the following order: (1) Neuroplasticity: Educators as Brain-changers; (2) Neuromyth Busting; (3) Neuro-truths in the Classroom, and recognize that this process is iterative.

Why is having an MBE teacher/school leader mindset essential?

“Enhanced teacher efficacy, a teacher’s belief in his or her capacity to impact each student’s learning, is strongly correlated to increased knowledge of the brain” (Neuroteach, Whitman and Kelleher, 5). Critical to teacher efficacy is an understanding of the MBE concept of neuroplasticity, not only in consideration of the student learner, but also the adult learner in schools. The belief in neuroplasticity connects to research regarding the importance of growth mindset.

Suggested Implementation:

  1. Coach students and teachers on the ability of their brains to grow and change with deliberate and challenging practice on specific strategies
  2. Utilize terms such as “current” and “yet” as opposed to “can’t” to promote belief in neuroplasticity
  3. Create challenging opportunities in which students can practice and develop a growth mindset
  4. Assess students and teachers on their current understanding of neuroplasticity
  5. Educate students about neuroplasticity through lecture and discussion of neuroplasticity using educational resources (such as videos, articles, infographics, etc.)
  6. Have students create “self-portraits” of their learning brain that reflect their understanding of neuroplasticity

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Judy Willis, “How to Teach Students about the Brain,” Educational Leadership 67, no. 4 (2009); Judy Willis, “What You Should Know about Your Brain,” Educational Leadership 67, no. 4 (2009), retrieved from
  • Hardiman, Mariale. The Brain-Targeted Teaching Model for 21st-Century Schools (Corwin), 2012.
    This is a foundational resource for educators that demonstrates how to apply educational and cognitive neuroscience principles into educational settings through a pedagogical framework.
  • Paul Howard-Jones, Introducing Neuroeducational Research: Neuroscience, Education and the Brain from Contexts to Practice (New York: Routledge, 2010).
    This foundational work explains the interdisciplinary neuro-educational approach to teaching and learning and presents case studies and empirical findings to illustrate how a neuro-educational approach can supply us with a more complete picture of how we learn.
  • R. M. JohnBull, M. Hardiman, and L. Rinne, “Professional Development Effects on Teacher Efficacy: Exploring How Knowledge of Neuro- and Cognitive Sciences Changes Beliefs and Practice” (paper presented at the AERA conference, San Francisco, CA, 2013); M. Hardiman, R. JohnBull, L. Rinne, J. Pare-Blagoev, E. Gregory, and J. Yarmolinskaya, “How Knowledge from the Science of Learning Influences Teaching Practices and Attitudes” (in preparation).
  • Whitman, Glenn and Ian Kelleher. Neuroteach: Brain Science and the Future of Education (Rowman & Littlefield), 2016.
    Written by educators who live the experience of teaching every day, Neuroteach serves as a pivotal resource guide for how to use the strongest evidence in Mind, Brain, Education science to inform one’s educational practice.


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

The items in this following section detail what must be submitted for evaluation. An educator will need to receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3 and meet the "Competency Met" level for both artifacts in Part 2 to earn the micro-credential

Part 1. Overview Questions

(200-word limit for each response)

In answering these questions, make specific reference to the resources you used in your responses.

  • What research currently informs your thinking, instructional design, and work with students?
  • How do different mindsets inform the learning experiences of both you and your students?

Part 2. Work Examples / Artifacts

To earn the MBE Mindset micro-credential, an educator must submit ONE of the following:

  • Record a 5-minute conversation with a student or colleague about what you have learned through this neuroplasticity micro-credential. Include a brief (30-second max video or 100-word written) introduction that provides the context of the conversation. You can submit a video or audio recording.
  • Create a visual representation of the three mindsets that inform the learning experiences of students and teachers, including artifacts such as an infographic, poster, or Prezi.
  • Write a 250- to 300-word (approximately one double-spaced page) Mind, Brain, and Education science Personal Mindset Statement, which demonstrates the implications of neuroplasticity for teaching and learning and your work as an educator.

Part 3. Reflection

(50-word minimum)

Meta-cognition, the act of thinking about thinking, is a critical part of the learning process. Use this Visible Thinking Routine from Project Zero to assess how your brain has changed by completing this MBE Mindset micro-credential.

Before completing this MBE Mindset micro-credential, I used to think ________________ but now, after completing this MBE Mindset credential, I think _______________________________.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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