University of Vermont

The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI)

BEST: Building Effective Support For Teaching Students With Behavioral Challenges

A Running PersonBEST/MTSS Summer Institute 2016

Strand G

Experiential, Brain-based approaches that Promote Student Engagement and Motivation to Learn

Jennifer Stanchfield


In this interactive strand educators will fill their toolbox with experiential, brain-based techniques to engage, motivate and meet the diverse needs of learners while building a positive, collaborative learning community. We will explore a variety of brain-based approaches that involve learners emotionally, socially, physically, and intellectually. These strength-based approaches help educators differentiate instruction, and maximize social-emotional and academic outcomes. 

Topics Include:

  • Experiential, brain-based strategies to actively engage learners physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually
  • New research from the field of educational neuroscience and its impact on learning, teaching, group work and social-emotional skills development
  • Exploration of a “Strengths-Based” approach to teaching and learning
  • The practical application of differentiated instruction principles and experiential, brain-based approaches to day to day teaching and classroom management
  • Methods for creating a positive environment for learning, starting on day one and maintaining it throughout the school year
  • Classroom management techniques to facilitate student engagement and ownership of learning as well as important social-emotional skill and 21st-century skills such as goal-setting, communication, empathy, self-regulation, reflection and problem-solving
  • Strategies for increasing student involvement, buy-in, and ownership of learning experiences
  • A variety of group-building activities to cultivate positive peer relationships, develop rapport, respect, communication, problem-solving, empathy, collaboration, and creativity
  • Methods to help educators design, sequence, facilitate and adapt activities to enhance learning outcomes and meet the diverse needs of learners
  • The role of the educator as guide, and the importance of flexibility, attitude, adaptation, and awareness of group and individual needs and differences
  • Engaging, reflective tools and techniques to help students find meaning and relevancy in their experiences increase depth of understanding, and application to future learning situations

Educators will take away practical, brain-based approaches to increase engagement and ownership in learning and group experiences and the classroom management strategies and structures needed to make them a success. These techniques create multiple pathways to learning and allow educators to review and reinforce academic, social-emotional learning content in novel and engaging ways. Join in this engaging strand and gain strategies that will enhance academic and social-emotional learning outcomes with all students, and support your school’s efforts to create a positive, collaborative learning community. 


Book - The Inspired Educator, Inspired Learner


Jennifer Stanchfield, MSJennifer Stanchfield, MS, inspires educators and learners the world over with her workshops and publications.  In her 25 years in the field, Jen has worked as a clinician in treatment centers for children and adolescents, as a classroom teacher, and in the professional training setting. Through these experiences, she has developed an extensive repertoire of experiential activities, tools and methods she brings to her engaging and informative workshops and training sessions. She is known for her work helping schools and community programs in the US, Canada and Japan use experiential methods to develop a positive learning environment, increase student engagement and develop positive assets and social-emotional skills. She has a master’s degree in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Jen is author of Inspired Educator, Inspired Learner: Experiential, Brain-Based Activities and Strategies to Engage, Motivate, Build Community and Create Lasting Lessons and Tips & Tools for the Art of Experiential Group Facilitation. She offers practical resources that come from her diverse experiences with learners of all ages incorporated with the latest brain-based research to increase meaningful engagement, content review and community building in the classroom and beyond. Visit her Inspired Educator Blog at

Last modified May 26 2016 02:24 PM

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