Punahou Bulletin

A Magazine for the Punahou School Family

Summer 2018

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Professional Development: How Brains Learn

Punahou welcomed back Dr. Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa, a leader in the field of the teaching philosophy that incorporates research from neuroscience and psychology, to this year’s Brain Symposium.

Punahou welcomed back Dr. Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa, a leader in the field of the teaching philosophy that incorporates research from neuroscience and psychology, to lead the conversation at this year’s Brain Symposium, held during the K – 12 professional development day in January.

Punahou educators gathered in diverse K – 12 groups to cultivate a common understanding of how brains work and to share professional practices. Teachers collaborated on interactive activities that centered around different lessons about the brain.

Rather than deliver a keynote address, Tokuhama-Espinosa made herself available to give feedback to small groups of teachers throughout the symposium. She also created informational videos for teachers to access. The new approach is consistent with research on professional development and Tokuhama-Espinosa’s experience that small group meetings that address specific questions are more beneficial to learning.

During her visit, Tokuhama-Espinosa also spoke with parents during an evening event entitled “How the Brain Learns Best.” She shared variables that affect learning and how parents can help their children before they start the school day, including making sure children get enough sleep. “Help regulate sleep because that is one of the biggest and most controllable factors that is in your power to help your kids do well in school.”