“The number one mindset that we want teachers to develop is that they are brain changers,” says Glenn Whitman, who directs the center and also serves as the dean of studies for preschool through grade 12 at St. Andrew’s. “That means you need to know the science around how the brain works and thrives,” particularly its ability to grow and change in response to experience. “The other mindset that we try to cultivate is that teachers are researchers.” The center encourages teachers to make evidence based changes in their practices and beliefs and then collect data from their own classrooms to see if those changes are an improvement.
“There are two [types of] brains in every school,” Whitman says, “the adult learning brain and the student learning brain. A school needs to be a learning organization for both those groups…A belonging mindset for adults in a learning community is really critical. If adults don’t feel safe to take risks and grow, then it’s no different for students.