About The Howard Institute

The mission of The Howard Institute is to share knowledge in a collaborative manner that melds research and practice. Through our summer offerings, consulting and customized classes, The Howard Institute shares best practices with the greater Atlanta education community, which impacts students throughout the area. To date, more than 25 area schools have participated in our school consultations and/or summer offerings, and have given very positive feedback!

Our interactive workshops are designed for all teachers interested in responding to current research in neuroscience, executive functions, assistive technology, mathematics and language acquisition. Participants work collaboratively with their fellow participants to interpret and apply the content to their own lessons and units, and leave with materials they can use immediately in their classes.

For more information about scheduling a Howard Institute workshop or consultation at your school, please contact Dr. Scott Hamilton at (404) 377-7436 ext. 242, or shamilton@howardschool.org

Howard Institute Mission

The Howard Institute is a professional learning outreach of The Howard School, providing programs for the educational community with the mission of sharing knowledge, developing collaborative relationships, and bringing current research and pedagogy into the broader community.

April 2018 Articles

Music lessons benefit cognitive and academic performance

This large-scale, longitudinal study suggested that structured music lessons significantly enhance children's cognitive abilities -- including language-based reasoning, short-term memory, planning and inhibition -- leading to improved academic performance. Visual arts lessons were also found to significantly improve children's visual and spatial memory.

Sleep deprivation associated with increased anxiety and depression

Lack of sleep may make it more likely for people to experience prolonged intrusive thoughts that contribute to depression and/or anxiety, according to this study.

The jury is still out on Omega-3

This study failed to replicate earlier results suggesting a link between Omega-3 and child reading or memory skills.

ADHD affects teen driving

ADHD, but not depression, negatively impacts teen driving, according to this study.

Sedentary lifestyle associated with weaker memory

This study supports why SPARK is so important at Howard School!

February 2018 Articles

What are the most important skills to succeed at a company like Google? Surprise, it's Habits of Mind, not tech!

In this Washington Post Article, we learn "The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas."

Positive attitude toward math predicts math achievement

More research evidence of a connection between attitude, anxiety/stress, and the ability to learn math

Parents' providing alcohol to teens at home does not reduce risk

This is a large study out of Australia that suggests that parents who provide alcohol to teens under the pretense of safety/learning to drink responsibly do not actually mitigate risks associated with teen drinking.

The impact of too much junk food and energy drinks on the developing brain

The teen brain has particular risks, according to this research

Reading out loud helps with memory

Research supporting why we emphasize oral reading at Howard School.

December 2017 Articles

Yoga and meditation improve brain function

25 minutes a day of yoga or mindfulness meditation has measurable effects on executive functions, including inhibiting negative behaviors, attention, and emotional regulation, according to this study.

Evidence for why we teach Metacognition at Howard

New research reveals that explicit training of metacognition-thinking about one's own thinking in the context of a challenging task- may lead to improvement in retention and academic performance.

"Vision Therapy" is not an evidence-based treatment for dyslexia

This article from the Journal of American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus offers caution against vision therapy as a treatment for dyslexia.

Brain food! What the research suggests about certain types

More research suggesting a linkage between nutrition and cognitive skills

Tween/teen sleep and risk for depression and addiction

This study suggests that chronic sleep deprivation in the tween and teen years disrupts the brain's processing of rewards, affecting mood and putting them at risk for depression, dangerous thrill seeking behavior, and/or addiction.

October 2017

Student self-concept is a predictor of academic achievement

Student self-concept related to math and reading actually predicts long term math and reading achievement, even when controlling for ability and learning differences! This study supports the importance of a positive, growth mindset in students.

Reading and writing with your children at home improves literacy skills AND executive functions

Great research to suggest that parents who read and write more with their children at home not only improve emerging literacy skills, but also contribute to a lifetime of improved executive functions.

Why do boys with ADHD often fidget during academic tasks?

New research on boys with ADHD suggests that fidgeting happens when they are using a large amount of "working memory," which is more common on academic tasks than with leisure activities. This is why we accommodate fidgeting at The Howard School...fidgeting is adaptive and helps with focus!

More evidence that playing a musical instrument is good for the brain

THIS is why Howard School focuses so much on playing musical instruments!

Does anxiety come from perception of risk, or aversion to consequences?

This article summary sheds some light on how anxiety emerges- looks like anxious people overestimate the risk of negative outcomes, more so than dwell on the negativity of those outcomes.

May 2017

Critical thinking training helps people spot pseudoscience

This study explains how teaching critical thinking in humanities classes helps students be more discerning about scientific versus psuedoscientific information.

Creativity = brain connectivity?

Connectivity between the left and right hemispheres, particularly in the frontal lobe, may be associated with higher creativity, based on this study.

Proficiency with fractions is key for algebra skill development


Great article (linked above) on the connection between fractions and algebra skills!

The thrill-seeking teenage brain

A good blog article from a few years ago that talks about the neuropsychology of the adolescent brain, particularly in light of potential for drug use and other high risk behaviors.

February 2017

To sleep, perchance to text

This study suggests an alarming number of teens are missing out on sleep due to social media distractions. Parents are encouraged to keep electronics out of the bedroom!

Spatial reasoning and early math skills

This is a good article that explains the connection between mathematics and the brain's ability to think and reason spatially.

Mindfulness meditation as a treatment for anxiety

This is a well-designed NIH study supporting the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder.

Working memory and dyslexia

Research is discovering the important role of working memory in the development of reading skills. At Howard School, we naturally use strategies designed to maximize working memory potential with our students.

Limitations of lectures on learning

This research reveals how lectures don't teach students problem solving skills. This is why at Howard we emphasize movement and ACTIVE engagement in learning!

December 2016

6 Questions: Addicted to Social Media?

The jury is still out as to whether social media can be a source of addiction, but here are 6 questions to ponder if you are concerned someone is spending too much time on line.

Practice tests may help to reduce testing stress

We know that stress effects memory, but researchers are finding specific strategies that can help reduce interfering stress during memory recall.

New Research on ADHD persisting into adulthood

Estimates of what percentage of students with ADHD will continue to have such symptoms in adulthood have varied. This research suggests that it may be higher than previously thought (around 60%).

Neuroscience can and should inform educational policies

Brain research has much to tell us about how the brain learns best. This article shows many of the reasons why research needs to be translated into best practices in education more readily. I'm so proud of being part of The Howard School, who already is doing so many of these evidence-based best educational practices!

American Academy of Pediatrics new guidelines on screens/electronic media for children and adolescents

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new guidelines for appropriate use of media/screen time for children and adolescents.

November 2016

Brain research shows how reading and oral language are connected

From our friends at The Dyslexia Foundation (for which Howard School is a sponsor), here is an article about how fMRI studies are showing that reading is intimately tied to spoken language, and it develops in a similar way in the brain regardless of the type of writing is used to represent the language.

Exercise associated with better memory recall

Link: Exercise boosts exam performance

Glad to see that exercise is superior to video game playing with regards to memory! This study is consistent with what John Ratey's research found with Spark, and why Spark is a part of what we do every day at Howard.

Adding movement into curriculum

Thanks lower school principal Jennifer Betts for finding this article and sharing it with faculty, about incorporating movement naturally into curriculum.

How brain development influences risk taking behavior in adolescents

Scott Hamilton

Assistant Head of School for Academics, Director of The Howard Institute