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Adolescent Reasoning Initiative

A female teacher wearing a gray dress is standing in front of young students outside the school building. Children

Teaching Students


To Learn, Not


To Learn

Reasoning, problem solving, and innovation: all necessary competencies for life success. Early adolescence is an optimal time to enhance learning, but many educators do not have the benefit of scientific methods that foster these skills.

Our training program enables middle school through ninth grade teachers to take advantage of this important brain development stage and optimize student learning for success in the classroom and beyond.

Meaningful Transformation

How teachers think
Style of teaching
Depth of interaction

A Hands-On Approach

More than 630 teachers have benefited to date, reaching more than 91,400 students.

  • Educators Receive Intensive SMART™ Training

  • Teachers Become Cognitive Trainers

  • BrainHealth® Experts Provide Classroom Support

  • Teachers Take Annual Refreshers

  • Student Growth Is Measured

In this video, hear from Ariel Black, an educator who shares her "aha!" moment.

Measurable Benefits

Improved executive function
Reduction in anxiety and depressive symptoms
Academic strength

A Supportive Collaboration

Middle- and high-school teachers who want to boost their students’ thinking partner with the Adolescent Reasoning Initiative team to learn how to implement Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Tactics, or SMART training, in their classrooms.

SMART is a cognitive neuroscience-based approach designed specifically to improve higher-order thinking skills.

A high school principal discusses the profound impact of the program on students and teachers alike.

Research Highlights

A happy Black teenage girl studying with a laptop and doing online research for a homework assignment.

Effects of Higher-Order Cognitive Strategy Training on Gist Reasoning and Fact-learning in Adolescents

Findings from this randomized controlled trial (RCT) suggest students can significantly improve gist-reasoning and fact-learning abilities by engaging in SMART™ strategies to support the ability to abstract meaning.

Adolescent students and teacher smiling by a window.

Enhancing Inferential Abilities in Adolescence: New Hope for Students in Poverty

By measuring a variety of critical skills for higher-order learning, this study examines the effects of SMART™ Brain Training on gist reasoning and fact recall among middle school students.

Children with backpacks hiking in autumn forest and helping one another climb a large rock.

New Hope for Executive Function and Reasoning Remediation in Children With ADHD: Strategic Memory and Reasoning Training (SMART)

Teaching children with ADHD specific metacognitive strategies has the potential to improve strategic learning and executive function.

Angry/mad children/kids/youths/youth are fighting.

Improved Reasoning in Children with ADHD after Strategic Memory and Reasoning Training: A Novel Intervention for Strategic Learning Impairment

The results of this study demonstrate evidence for the clinical application of cognitive interventions for children with impaired reasoning ability.

A young female student is studying while looking at the tablet. Child. Kid. Youth.

Inhibitory Control Gains From Higher-Order Cognitive Strategy Training

Findings from this study indicate that training higher-order executive functions using SMART™ Brain Training can strengthen inhibitory control among middle school students.

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