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Brains ON! Professional Development

Brain-compatible courses, coaching and training for educators, parents, and anyone interested in how the brain learns.

Our Brains ON! courses and workshops are designed to help educators and trainers understand and apply what neuroscience is uncovering about how the brain works.  This is not about pop science; in fact, we proactively dispel common “neuromyths.”  Our educational programs are designed to overcome the two biggest drawbacks of training for teachers and parents about the brain – the fact that neuroscience can be esoteric and difficult to apply – and the fact that most training doesn’t itself model good brain-compatible teaching.  All of our professional development is practical and brain friendly.

From Synapses to Strategies

From Synapses to Strategies Course

This online course takes participants from the basics of brain structure and function that every teacher should know to the implications of that knowledge for instructional strategies. The course can be completed at your own pace and on your own schedule, typically in 10 hours. Participants interact and receive personal feedback from the course instructor.

Brains On Lesson Design Course

Brains ON! Lesson Design Course

This course blends in-person professional development with embedded coaching and online interactive practice. It is designed for districts and schools ready to make a commitment to helping teachers develop brain-compatible approaches to instruction and lesson design. The blended in-person and online course is typically scheduled over a three-month period, for cohorts of 20-30 teachers.

Brains On Workshops

Brains ON! Workshops

Whether it’s time to spark interest in how the brain learns or whether your goal is to delve more deeply into some other timely aspect of applying neuroscience to teaching and learning, such as the social and emotional aspects of learning, Brains ON! half-day or full-day workshops can enlighten and inspire.

Brains ON! Faculty

Betsy Hill

Betsy Hill is an experienced educator and serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of the BrainWare Learning Company, an organization focused on the application of neuroscience research to the teaching and learning process.  Early in her career, she taught world languages and realized how little science had illuminated how the brain acquires and uses language.  Since then, research on the brain has exploded, and she has studied the application of neuroscience to education with Dr. Patricia Wolfe, the author of Brain Matters, and an international authority on brain research and classroom practice, as well as other experts in the field. Ms. Hill has presented nationally and internationally, educating, teachers, clinicians, administrators and business people on how the brain learns.  She focuses particularly on how the rapidly developing discoveries of neuroscience researchers can help school leaders and practitioners address some of the most long-standing and perplexing problems in the education system – including closing the gap for historically underperforming students.   She has gained important insights into the preparation of students for college and careers over the course of 14 years, two as chairperson, on the board of trustees of Chicago State University. She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching degree and an MBA, both from Northwestern University and teaches strategic thinking in the MBA programs at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Sara M. Sawtelle

Sara M. Sawtelle, Ph.D. is the Director of Scientific Affairs for the BrainWare Learning Company.  She has served many roles in education prior to her current work—from instructional technology coordinator & chemistry teacher to training director to college chemistry professor at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN and the University of Memphis.  Dr. Sawtelle received her Ph.D. from Boston College.  Her career is focused on helping people learn, which includes the value of neuroscience-based tools in education at all levels, and helping people understand the value of field research. She has studied with Dr. Patricia Wolfe, the author of Brain Matters, and other neuroscience experts, tracks neurocognitive research on an ongoing basis, and has served as a lead contributor to the Software and Information Industry Association guidelines on technology implementation in education.  She has an extensive track record in training teachers, administrators and other educational staff on cognitive skills development, how the brain learns and best-practices for applying neuroscience in the classroom.  She has led the implementation and analysis of dozens of research studies, including both published and field studies in authentic educational settings.


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