- Donna Wilson
Donna Wilson, PhD, educational psychologist, is the head of academic affairs of the Center for Innovative Education and Prevention (CIEP) and BrainSMART. She also serves as a Research Leader with the Abraham S. Fischler School of Education at Nova Southeastern University. Wilson completed her postdoctoral studies in structural cognitive modifiability prior to developing a graduate program putting cognitive research into practice while she served as chair of education at the University of Detroit Mercy. As a former classroom teacher, Wilson’s professional focus in on empowering educators with opportunities for learning how to align teaching practices with current research about how students learn. She has written more than 20 books and articles in the educational field and is a well-known presenter at educational association conferences in the United States and internationally. She has been a key developer of the Master of Science and Educational Specialist degree programs with a major in Brain-Based Teaching and the doctoral minor degree in Brain-Based leadership with the Abraham S. Fischler School of Education at Nova Southeastern University.
From the beginning of her career as an elementary school teacher and school psychologist to her current work in teacher education, Wilson has advocated for empowering educators with the knowledge and skills they need to teach children in ways that they learn best so that they might achieve their full potential. Her work with tens of thousands of classroom teachers is informed by a synergy of educational, cognitive, and brain research. She is codeveloper of the BrainSMART model, which offers practical strategies designed to help students maintain a healthy and optimistic state for learning, to make lessons meaningful, to maintain students’ focus and attention on learning, to retain what they have learned, and to transfer and demonstrate their new knowledge in assessments and real-life applications. She also codeveloped Thinking for Results, a process for equipping students with the cognitive tools they need to actualize their learning potential.
Education and professional experience
Wilson earned her PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Oklahoma and is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP). She also completed postdoctoral studies at the International Center for the Enhancement of Learning Potential with Reuven Feuerstein and Alex Kozulin.
As an assistant professor in the Psychology Department at Valdosta State University, Wilson began her university career as a teacher educator at the undergraduate level. She later chaired the Education Department at the University of Detroit Mercy, where she codeveloped a unique cohort and field-based master’s degree for teachers with a focus on cognition and motivation in diverse classrooms. Wilson co-led two educational research projects: (1) the implementation of a brain-based teaching approach supported by a Challenge Grant from the Annenberg Foundation with Florida Atlantic University and (2) a three-year Florida Department of Education initiative on brain-based teaching, Scholarships for Teachers in Action Research (STAR). The effectiveness of the latter initiative led to the development of Master of Science and Educational Specialist degrees with a major in Brain-Based Teaching through Nova Southeastern University. Wilson considers brain-based teaching to be an approach to instruction that acknowledges that learning may change the structure and function of the brain and that educational and cognitive research can be used to enhance classroom teaching practice.
Membership in professional associations
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education; American Educational Research Association; Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; International Association for Cognitive Education and Psychology; International Mind Brain and Education Society; International Reading Association; International Neuropsychological Society; National Association of School Psychologists; New York Academy of Sciences; Society for Social Neuroscience
Selected recent academic presentations
International Educational Organization, “The Brain in Education” Third Annual International Education Symposium, Invited Presentation “BrainSMART Strategies for Boosting Learning,” Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 2011
International Association for Cognitive Education and Psychology, Paper Presentation “Preliminary Results from a Qualitative Study of Teachers: Using an Education, Mind, and Brain Framework for Enhancing Instruction in K-12 Classrooms,” Boston, Massachusetts, 2011
Nova Southeastern University Conference on Global Leadership, Learning, & Research, Invited Presentation “Potential, Plasticity, and the Power to Get Better at Almost Anything,” Orlando, Florida, 2011
National Association of Elementary School Principals Annual Convention, Invited Three-Day Workshop for Principals and Teacher Leaders, "BrainSMART Leading for Learning in Culturally Diverse Environments: Putting Cognitive Research into Practice," Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2011
National Association of Elementary School Principals Annual Convention, Invited Extended Learning Presentation, "BrainSMART Leading for Learning: Keys to Increasing Student Achievement," Tampa, Florida, 2011
National Association of Elementary School Principals Summer Leadership Institute, Invited Three-Day Feature Workshop, “BrainSMART Leading for Learning in Culturally Diverse Environments: Putting Cognitive Research into Practice,” San Diego, California, 2010
National Association of Elementary School Principals Annual Convention, “Preconference Session: BrainSMART Administrator’s Guide to Increasing Student Learning” and “Leading for Reading,” Houston, Texas, 2010
Georgia Association of Gifted Educators and University of Georgia, “Drive Your Brain to Higher Achievement,” Athens, Georgia, 2006
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Annual Conference, “Increasing Student Achievement with BrainSMART Instruction,” Orlando, Florida, 2005
National Title I Annual Conference, “Drive Your Brain: Cognitive Tools for Increasing Student Achievement,” New Orleans, Louisiana, 2004
Summer Learning Brain Expo, “Thinking for Reading,” Chicago, Illinois, 2003
Learning and the Brain Conference, “Thinking for Results” and “Neuroscience and Early Childhood Education,” Boston, Massachusetts, 2002
Conyers, M. A., & Wilson, D. L. (in press). Potential: Appreciating our #1 asset. Orlando, FL: BrainSMART.
Wilson, D. L. (1995, Fall). Some thoughts on achieving equity in education. The Reporter, 14.
Wilson, D. L. (1996). The school psychologist as co-teacher: An example using the COGNET program as a means of teaching thinking skills. Journal of Cognitive Education, 5, 171–183.
Wilson, D. L. (1996). The school psychologist as co-teacher and staff developer: A shift in thinking. NASP Communique, 33–34.
Wilson, D. L. (2011). The importance of educational leadership and policy: In support of effective instruction. Retrieved from ERIC database. (ED523494)
Wilson, D. L., & Bellanca, J. (1998). Mediated learning in and out of the classroom training manual. Arlington Heights, IL: SkyLight.
Wilson, D. L., & Church, S. (1993). Norman public schools three-year study of at-risk students. Research for Better Schools Teaching Thinking and Problem Solving, 15(1), 6–8.
Wilson, D. L., & Conyers, M. A. (2006). BrainSMART in the house (2nd ed.). Orlando, FL: BrainSMART.
Wilson, D. L., & Conyers, M. A. (2009). Wiring the brain to read: Beginning reading preK–grade 3. Orlando, FL: BrainSMART.
Wilson, D. L., & Conyers, M. A. (2010). Courageous learners: Increasing student achievement in diverse learning communities (3rd ed.). Orlando, FL: BrainSMART.
Wilson, D. L., & Conyers, M. A. (2010). Wiring the brain to read: Brain-based differentiated reading instruction. Orlando, FL: BrainSMART.
Wilson, D. L., & Conyers, M. A. (2010). Wiring the brain to read: Higher-order thinking for reading. Orlando, FL: BrainSMART.
Wilson, D. L., & Conyers, M. C. (2011). BrainSMART 60 strategies for increasing student learning (4th ed.). Orlando, FL: BrainSMART.
Wilson, D. L., & Conyers, M. A. (2011). Thinking for results: Strategies for increasing student achievement by as much as 30 percent (4th ed.). Orlando, FL: BrainSMART.
Wilson, D. L., & Germuth, A. (2011). Helping all learners reach their potential: What teachers say about BrainSMART. Durham, NC: EvalWorks; Orlando, FL: BrainSMART.
Wilson, D. L., & Greenberg, K. (2000). The COGNET education model. In A. Costa (Ed.), Teaching for intelligence II. Arlington Heights, IL: SkyLight.
Wilson, D. L., & Harman, A. (2011). Graduate survey: Data summary & analysis report. Raleigh, NC: Harman and Associates; Orlando, FL: BrainSMART.
Wilson, D. L., Heverly, L., & Conyers, M. A. (2011). BrainSMART early start: Building the brain power of young children (2nd ed.). Orlando, FL: BrainSMART.
BrainSMART, Inc. http://www.brainsmart.org
- ^ Wilson, D.L., & Conyers, M.A. (2011). BrainSMART 60 Strategies for Increasing Student Learning (4th ed.). Orlando, FL: BrainSMART.
- ^ Wilson, D.L., & Conyers, M.A. (2011). Thinking for Results: Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement by as Much as 30 Percent (4th ed.). Orlando, FL: BrainSMART.
- ^ Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., and Cocking, R. R. (Eds.). (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
- ^ Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (Eds). (2007). Understanding the brain: The birth of a learning science. Danvers, MA: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
- ^ Hardiman, M. M., & Denckla, M. B. (2010). The science of education: Informing teaching and learning through the brain sciences. In Cerebrum 2010: Emerging ideas in brain science. Washington, DC: Dana Press.
- Educational psychologists
- Living people
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