A unique feature of Queen Anne’s is its innovative approach to understanding the teenage brain with teaching and learning underpinned by our neuroscience research centre BrainCanDo.

Founded by Headmistress Julia Harrington, BrainCanDo is a Queen Anne’s led initiative that focuses on the development of a strong neuroscientific evidence base to inform educational practices, teaching, BrainCanDo Logolearning and wellbeing. It aims to empower teaching professionals to use the latest neuroscience and psychology research to enrich their classrooms and empower students to understand how learning happens.

Queen Anne’s students have been involved in a range of fascinating projects over the last 6 years including a 4 year study on the impact of music on the brain and a month long study of Lower Sixth students who enjoyed later lie-ins to help understand how important sleep is to the wellbeing and academic performance of teenagers. Last year BrainCanDo’s revision guide made headlines for recommending positive triggers like smelling lemons could help revision among other evidence based revision techniques to maximise your studying and retention.

How does Queen Anne’s School use evidence informed learning techniques from BrainCanDo to maximise teaching and learning?

Sniff Lemons for Exam Success

BrainCanDo - Sniff Lemons for SuccessConditioning yourself to associate an object or sensation with a positive mood is a highly successful exam revision technique, particularly for those that fear nerves on the day.

By spending five minutes daily thinking or doing things that made students smile or feel confident whilst sniffing a lemon, Queen Anne’s pupils conditioned themselves to associate sniffing a lemon with a positive mood.

Sniffing a lemon just before the exam, revisits this trigger which then evokes the same positive emotions previously associated with the lemon, helping students to achieve a positive mindset for the upcoming test.

Later Lie-ins for Teens

To get a real insight into how important sleep is to the wellbeing and academic performance of teenagers, Queen Anne’s school undertook a month long study with BrainCanDo and Bristol University, which saw the school day starting at the later time of 9.15am for the L6 students.

The students’ sleep habits, stress levels and behaviour were all measured over the course of the month. Students also performed a series of attention and concentration tasks in a virtual classroom, to measure their level of attentiveness before, during and after the later start project.

We focus on optimising learning through brain development.
The key is to understand how the teenage brain works