Adolescent Reasoning Initiative


“I enjoyed every part of SMART. Reading is my favorite subject and I like to think that SMART makes my brain bigger, better and stronger. I love SMART. Thank you!” - K.N., student

The Teenage Brain

The teenage brain undergoes more changes than at any other time in life with the exception of an infant’s first three months. The Adolescent Reasoning Initiative capitalizes on this optimal time to train students’ reasoning and higher-order thinking skills.

“Thank you for reminding us that our goal is to promote thinking and understanding far beyond our curriculum; that we are here to ‘create’ life learners.” - L.N., teacher

Teaching How to Learn Instead of What to Learn

Cognitive neuroscientists Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman and Dr. Jacquelyn Gamino developed this research-based intervention for junior high and middle school students. Known as Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training (SMART), the initiative encourages students to think deeply and create new ideas, instead of memorizing facts. The cognitive processes taught in SMART promote problem-solving, critical thinking and knowledge absorption. Since it began in 2008, it has been expanded, tested, and implemented with more than 50,000 youth, 300 teachers and 125 administrators in five states.

The eighth-grade SMART-trained students passed the STAAR at nearly double the rate of students at the same school who did not receive SMART training. STAAR is a Texas standardized test required for graduation in Texas schools. Results reflect a dramatic difference in standardized test passing rates in reading, math, science and social studies.

Results

“My [students] blew it out of the water for summarizing, synthesizing and inferencing.  I feel that this is a direct result of the SMART training that they received. This is the BEST program I have ever worked with and I feel privileged to be a part of it!” - K.J., teacher

Teachers have reported more energized, creative and thought-filled classrooms. Parents have shared that their children are more confident and excited to learn. Through this initiative, BrainHealth has transformed the way in which students, teachers, families and school administrators approach learning. The eighth-grade SMART-trained students passed the STAAR at nearly double the rate of students at the same school who did not receive SMART training. STAAR is a Texas standardized test required for graduation in Texas schools. Results reflect a dramatic difference in standardized test passing rates in reading, math, science and social studies.

How the Program Works: Resources for Teachers

Teacher Training

Each summer, the Center for BrainHealth holds week-long training sessions for public middle and high school teachers who want to bring SMART to their schools. The Adolescent Reasoning Initiative teaches teachers to implement SMART in their classrooms. The cognitive processes teachers impart to students can be generalized to all class subjects as well as decision-making in social situations.

Ongoing Support

Principals and administrators attend a one-day SMART leadership workshop to encourage SMART to become part of the school culture.

Center for BrainHealth staff provide site visits during implementation and remain available throughout the school year, providing additional resources to help teachers maintain the fidelity of the program.

SMART Club

An afterschool enrichment program, SMART Club, allows students to flex the SMART skills they learned during class instruction in a collaborative, thought provoking environment. Center for BrainHealth provides resources for teachers to tailor SMART club activities to their school population.

“I love that the SMART program challenges and improves your frontal lobes.” - J.M., student

Register for Training

Send an email to bhSmartEd@utdallas.edu or call 972.883.3247 for additional information about the Adolescent Reasoning Initiative and how to bring this program to your public school’s students.

BrainHealth® is a registered service mark of The University of Texas at Dallas