Archive for RESEARCH

Samford’s Education School Hosts ‘Neuroscience of Learning’ Conference

Original Article Published on May 03, 2017 at by Sara Roman

Neuroscience 2017

More than 120 superintendents, principals and teachers throughout Alabama attended the May 2 conference, “Neuroscience of Learning: A Follow Up to the Finland Summit,” presented by Orlean Beeson School of Education in partnership with the Goodrich Foundation. Attendees represented more than 20 school districts as well as several private schools, Alabama State Department of Education and Alabama Department of Public Health.

According to David Finn, Samford professor and member of the event’s planning committee, the goal of the conference was to continue the conversation about factors that positively impact student achievement. “The philosophy and practice of educational neuroscience embraces those factors, and has caused contemporary educators to consider ways of incorporating those principles into the daily lives of all children,” said Finn.

In the interactive morning session, Lori Desautels, assistant professor at Butler University, shared her passion for engaging students through neuroscience in education. She integrates mind brain teaching and learning strategies into her courses.

Desautels asked participants to place one hand on either side of their head and connect their pointer finger and thumb to make a circle around their temple. “This is your amygdala; this is the place that holds emotion,” said Desautels. “When a student enters your classroom wired up or shut down, oxygenated blood flow is going to this area, thus decreasing the blood flow to the frontal lobe.”

The frontal lobe’s function includes problem solving, spontaneity, memory, language, initiation, impulse control and social behavior. According to Desautels, these are skills necessary for a child to learn in the classroom. Instead of asking, “What is wrong with this student?” Desautels encouraged teachers to ask, “What happened to this student? What is the story of this student?”

Desautels said it is crucial for educators to provide students with all the tools they need to learn in the classroom. Those tools can be better identified when there is an understanding of what the brain needs to learn.

Attendees participated in breakout sessions were based on one of seven key points identified in the fall 2016 Finland Summit conference. In one session, participants discussed the need for movement in the classroom.

“Keep your students engaged and ready to learn through what I call brain breaks,” said session facilitator Chelsea Byrd, a teacher in Jasper City Schools. She showed a video that used a dance and rap to explain the water cycle from a website that holds hundreds of videos created to activate students’ bodies and brains.

April Brand from Helena High School led School Based Time—Pack 60. “Pack 60 was instituted to provide students with a break from academics through a variety of scheduled options during their lunch period,” said Brand. Students are given 30 minutes to eat and 30 minutes to meet with extracurricular clubs and to build student relationships.

Superintendent of Fairfield City Schools Walter Gonsoulin believes in the importance of students having basic needs met in order to learn. “We want to remove barriers to student success by helping students and families access comprehensive wrap-around services,” said Gonsoulin. “These services include, but are not limited to, primary health, dental care, vision care and mental health care.” The services are offered at or near the school site.

In addition to her conference presentations, Desautels met with Orlean Beeson School of Education undergraduate and graduate students in the afternoon. “I am so excited to share a couple of things that I wish so desperately someone had shared with me when I was a new teacher,” said Desautels.

Desautels then asked a Samford student to hold a water bottle high in the air while she continued her lecture. A few minutes later, Desautels asked the student how she was doing. “That was tough. My arm hurts,” replied the student. Desautels asked her how she felt her listening was affected by holding the water bottle. The student laughed and said, “Oh, I don’t know that I heard a word you said. I was so focused on my arm.”

Desautels explained that this is what happens to students when they walk into a classroom with baggage or a weight over their heads. Students often shut down and are unable to learn.

Students and conference participants were asked to remember three key points. First, neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to form and reorganize synaptic connections in response to learning or experience. Second, students respond to someone they feel cares and is someone they respect. Third, teach and model the behaviors they want to see. “Think of teaching behavior like you would think of teaching someone to ride a bike,” said Desautels. “Don’t punish; the brain learns from repetition.”


Creating Trauma Informed Instruction-Schools The Heart of Teaching and Learning

A Presentation by Dr. Lori Desautels- Marian University

trauma and brain powerpointPreview: Schools as Ecological Systems

Students who attend school from kindergarten through secondary school typically spend more than 13,000 hours of their developing brain’s time in the presence of teachers.

Their brains are highly susceptible to environmental influences – social, physical, cognitive, and emotional. And, more important, their brains will be altered by the experiences they have in school.

(Eric Jensen, Teaching With the Brain in Mind, 2nd Edition, 2005)

view presentation


How the Brain Works, Mindfulness and Meditation Pt. 2

In this episode we discuss How the Brain Works in regards to educational neuroscience with Dr. Lori Desautels of Marian University.  If you want to better understand the reasons behind student behavior and motivation while learning how to start training student’s brains to focus this episode is for you.

Reach out to Dr. Desautels on Twitter @Desautels_Phd





In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • What a Brain Break is and why you should use them
  • How to validate emotional responses with students
  • How our role as educators has changed in the 21st century

Get Part 1


Listen to Lori Live! WZPL 99.5 Thursday March 1st, 7:30am

Listen in live to Lori Desautels discuss “How May I Serve You. Revelations in Education”
WZPL 99.5
Thursday, March 1st, 7:30 am


Had a great conversation with Dave Smiley, KJ, Producer Will and Toni on “The Bullying Show” Link to the radio show is below!  Recorded on March 1 2012!






New Power Points on Mind Brain Education

Click image or links below to download powerpoints.

Brain Compatible Learning>
Brain Based Teaching and Learning>


A Response to the Chinese Tiger Mother: Children Need a Balanced Approach

Original article posted on Inside The School, January 24th, 2011 By: Lori Desautels, Ph.D.

Editor’s note: In early January, the Wall Street Journal published a Saturday essay from Yale law professor and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Chua’s essay advocates a Chinese approach to parenting, which is beyond the definition of strict for Western mothers. Click here to read Chua’s essay.

I suggested that Lori L Desautels, Ph.D., School of Education, Marian University, author of How May I Serve You, A Revelation in Education, offer a response to Chua’s essay, based on Desautels’ work.

Mother-daughter shopping trip“The Chinese Tiger Mother”- who is she and what are the sources, the origins of her parenting values and behaviors? So many thoughts about this, but one that runs succinctly throughout the reading of this article, a thought of “fear.” Initially I felt hot raw anger at this woman who shares my profession of parenting. The emotions began to stew and brew with no preconceived notions. And then I stopped in the midst of these steamy emotions and said out loud, “When we judge another’s experience, we forget, forfeiting to step inside the shoes of another and walk around for awhile feeling their texture, their plasticity or lack thereof, wondering or pondering the history of the wearer of the shoes!” When I stepped in her shoes, I was struck with deep fear. I felt fear of believing her own upbringing could have been less than adequate, fear of the type of parent she was or desired to be, but mostly, a deep fear of change!

I did not experience this mother’s upbringing, nor did I experience her culture or how her beliefs became a part of her day to day life. So as I continued to read and reread this article with flashes of anger and disillusionment, I remembered compassion and what that means or how it plays out in this diversified world today. Gathering research and discovering new knowledge is what I do for a living, teaching in higher education. There have been research studies conducted on the heightened stress levels of adolescents who text from their cell phones hundreds of times every day. Eric Jensen reports that the prevalence of children with a chronic or acute stress disorder is 18-20%.[1] The largest group of stress disordered victims is school-age children. Jensen explains, “Stress is a physiological response to a perspective. The perspective originates from a feeling of lack of control over a situation or environment. When this state occurs, a hyper secretion of cortisol, a stress related hormone takes place when the body experiences stress.” [2] It is known among neuroscientists and now educators, that the memory and mental clarity required in learning new concepts, is greatly affected and declines when stress is present and activated in a child or adolescent’s body.

mother and child at playAlthough the math and science scores are lower in the United States than in many Asian countries, a recent international study reported that “Chinese children as young as six are suffering from serious stress at school, according to the international study, which shines a light onto the pressures faced by Chinese youngsters being pushed to take advantage of the opportunities of the ‘new’ China.

“A scientific survey of 9 to 12-year-olds in eastern China found that more than 80 percent worried “a lot” about exams, two-thirds feared punishment by their teachers and almost three-quarters reported fearing physical punishment from their parents.”[3]

There is always a trade off and balancing mechanism in place when we consciously or subconsciously move to one extreme or the other in any area of life. When we push our children and students to strive academically neglecting the emotional intelligence of self-awareness, empathy and social connectedness, there are often times negative consequences within the social and emotional constructs of social and emotional growth. And if we do not set high expectations and place rigor and meaningful content and differentiated instruction into our curriculum, we may see apathetic students who do not embrace the importance and significance of educational learning, expansion and inquiry!

girl and her mother eating a picnic lunchSo I return to the behaviors of this Chinese woman and mother, and I wonder about the long-term effects, or maybe not-too-long-term effects of her children’s holistic development as she chooses to exclude the social, imaginative, and emotional development of her children? Human beings are social mammals, and we begin to diminish and withdraw without the relational learning that is required for holistic health and well-being. We thrive on relationships and the playfulness of school plays, sleep overs, joyful exploration and most of all sitting with questions! The brain is wired in this time for curiosity and play, seeking relevancy and meaning inside the activities and relationships of our lives.

Practice and more practice does make permanent, but it does not create critical thinking skills and creative problem solving that carry us through life experiences and relationship dilemmas, teaching our children and adolescents about empathy, reaching out to those so very different with a deepened understanding. The electromagnetic field of the heart is 60 or more times greater than that of the brain, reported by the Heartmath Institute, and it is here, inside the brain of the heart where living life is embraced; not with perfection but with satisfaction in the process of discovering life. [4] Failures and mistakes keep us pushing forward with enthusiasm as science has clearly demonstrated through the years, and if we hold the perspective of failures being our greatest learning tools, we cannot help but be and feel successful in all areas of our lives.


[1] Jensen, Eric. Different Brains, Different Learners.  Corwin Press, (revised ed)  2009
[2] Jensen, Eric.
[3] Foster, Peter. “Third of Chinese primary school children suffer stress, study finds.” The Telegraph, January 19, 2010.  Accessed January 18, 2011.
[4] “The Resonant Heart–A Deep Secret of Peacemaking, ” last modified 2007,

Lori Desautels, Ph.D., is a university supervisor for the Indianapolis Teaching Fellows and Teach for America programs. She is an instructor at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at Marian University in Indianapolis.  Before coming to Marian University, Lori taught emotionally handicapped students in the upper elementary grades, worked as a school counselor in Wayne Township, was a private practice counselor through the Indianapolis Counseling Center, and was a behavioral consultant for Methodist Hospital in the adolescent psychiatric unit. She graduated from Butler University with a BS in Special Education, from Indiana University with an MS in counseling, and earned her Ph.D. from The American Institute of Holistic Theology with an emphasis in early adolescence in thought formation. Desaultes’ website is at


Find Your Inner Teacher

Below is an excerpt from an article in Pathways, Summer 2010, Volume 15, Number 2.  Download entire Pathways article.

Find Your Inner Teacher

Next to the parents, a heart-inspired teacher is the most important thing for children. Pun intended.
Working with students of all ages, Lori Desautels, Ph.D., has honed the skills of teaching from the heart for more than 25 years. She has helped young people rise above a host of obstacles—environmental, physical and mental health challenges— and to shine. She now brings these special skills to “teach the teachers” in three university programs.

As the mother of two teenagers and a preteen, naturally she has gained a nourishing pantry of “kitchen table wisdom” as well. Lori has seen her own children’s minds evolve and spirits dance, when given the attention of mindful, caring teachers. “People of all ages know when you are listening, intuitively, for what they may need as well as what they say. They know if you’re fully present, in the moment with them. And we all learn more deeply from the safe space of feeling understood. We all want kinship.”

She adds that during middle school years—which is part of her own teaching experience—there’s a conflicted continuumof childhood, adolescence and maturity. “Suddenly, peers’ opinions may take on greater significance than anyone’s, which is ironic in that they’re all bubbling in the same hormonal stew. Especially if there’s a troubling ongoing situation, it’s essential that students not feel judged. At this age, kids gain exponentially from hearing reflective observations and ideas regarding options rather than pat answers; then they can shift from a victim mentality by gaining a greater sense of personal responsibility.”

Lori says her AIHT dissertation research is how she discovered a new educational calling. “I wanted to embrace academic science and spirituality together, and our school principal was supportive. During 40-minute classes for 14 weeks, two groups of students interacted on topics such as: 1. Thoughts are energy, and our thoughts present us with opportunities to act in positive or negative ways; 2. In scientific research, positive thoughts are more than 100 times more powerful than negative thoughts; 3. By choosing to shift our thoughts, students and teachers have the ability to shift many outcomes too. In these classes and subsequent groups, school attendance and GPA improved!”

Encouraged to share her findings with the Dean of Education at Marian University, Lori soon joined the Indianapolis Teaching Fellows as a graduate mentor/supervisor. She also oversees needs assessments within a transitional graduate program, Teach for America, and is an undergraduate instructor.
Her upcoming book is entitled How May I Serve You? A Revelation in Education. Through anecdotes and archetypal mythology, its message for future teachers is to bring esoteric intuitive skills into the mainstream classroom, to “Find your inner teacher.”

In its prologue, Lori writes: “In this new paradigm I encourage you to explore your own perspectives, to see how rigid or pliable they feel. The contrast provided by opposing events or circumstances is the gift IF we choose to experience it that way… if we have the eyes to see and the imagination to delve into the active life of teaching and learning.”

Image Caption: “Ferris Wheel,” a poem by Lori Desautels, Ph.D., was chosen for Illuminations: Expressions of the Personal Spiritual Experience. Also featured among its 180-plus contributors from 43 countries are interviews with metaphysicians Marianne Williamson and Rev. Desmond Tutu, and creativity innovator Julia Cameron.



Heart of Learning

2007-2008 Research and Study Group Presentation



Please visit the website and services provided by Dyslexia Institute of Indiana

Rosie Hickle Executive Director,

Download Presentation>


Hello world! Welcome to my site.

Welcome to How May I Serve You: A Revelation In Education.

It is my intention to continue to share educational content, thoughts, teaching experiences, life experiences and writing passages with one another through this site. How May I Serve You, A Revelation in Education is a book I have been writing for the past two years. An excerpt from the manuscript is posted on the website under “The Book”. I am hopeful that a completed story will be in our hands in the next few months!

I am eager for you to share your writing thoughts and ideas on this interactive web site as I desire this site  to be a learning and teaching tool for all of us. It is under construction and there will be new content added much of the time. Please share with those that you feel would enjoy, benefit or use this space for reflection reading and learning.

Thank you so much.


Marian University is creating opportunities at every corner to make positive changes within the schools around Indiana. Dr Hill is an innovative and creative visionary who listens to both his head and heart. Please enjoy the following links as we move to greater school and teacher performances

IDOE Selects Partner for Turnaround Leadership Academy – Indiana Department of Education Press Release
State Selects Marian to Train Turnaround Leaders – Indianapolis Business Journal, July 14, 2010 

Park Tudor - Mental health and taking care of the whole student The Heart and Brain of the Matter Keynote: ISTA Early Educators Conference. Part 1.
View Entire Presentation

A message from the Authors of Unwritten, The Story of a Living System

Mark your calendars and come learn with us!
2019 Schedule
  • August 1 - Vincennes Community School Corporation - Vincennes, IN
  • August 2 - Scecina - Indianapolis, IN
  • August 6-8 - Atlantic County - Atlantic City, NJ
  • August 12 - Clark-Pleasant Community Schools - Whiteland, IN
  • August 13 - Hobart Schools - Hobart, IN
  • August 14-15 - Vincennes Community School Corporation - Vincennes, IN
  • August 19-20 - Warsaw Schools - Warsaw, IN
  • August 21 - St. Anthony's - Indianapolis, IN
  • September 3 - Neighborhood Charter Network Schools - Indianapolis, IN
  • September 4 - Terre Haute Principals
  • September 5 - Washington Woods Elementary - Westfield, IN
  • September 10 - Pike Township - Indianapolis, IN
  • September 10 - Caresource - Indianapolis, IN
  • September 11 - Community Schools of Frankfort - Frankfort, IN
  • September 12 - New Castle Schools - New Castle, IN
  • September 13 - North Gibson School Corp - Princeton, IN
  • September 16 - Crown Point Community Schools - Crown Point, IN
  • September 19 - St Pius Catholic Church - Indianapolis, IN
  • September 21 - Educational Neuroscience Symposium - Indianapolis, IN
  • September 23 - Wabash District Schools - Winchester, IN
  • September 25 - Mt Vernon Community School Corp - Fortville, IN
  • September 26 - Northwest Allen County Schools - Ft. Wayne, IN
  • September 27 - St. Mary's Child Center, Indianapolis, IN
  • September 28 - Frankfort Schools - Frankfort, IN
  • October 1 - Vincennes Community School Corporation - Vincennes, IN
  • October 2 - La Porte High School - La Porte, IN
  • October 3 - Fort Wayne Conference - Fort Wayne, IN
  • October 4 - Ray Pec-Kansas City - Peculiar, MO
  • October 8 - School Administrators of Iowa - Clive, IA
  • October 10-12 - Virginia Education Association - Richmond, VA
  • October 14-15 - Ignite Achievement Academy - Indianapolis, IN
  • October 17-18 - Lake Central School Corp - St. John, IN
  • October 21 - Richmond High School Career Center - Richmond, IN
  • October 22 - Wabash Valley Education Center - West Lafayette, IN
  • October 25 - Arizona ASDB - Tucson, AZ
  • October 28 - McCordsville Elementary - McCordsville, IN
  • November 4 - Indiana Social Work School Assoc - Noblesville, IN
  • November 5 - Wayne Township - Indianapolis, IN
  • November 6 - Indiana Wesleyan, Marion, IN
  • November 7 - Richmond - Richmond, IN
  • November 7-8 - AACTE Conference - Butler University, Indianapolis, IN
  • November 12 - St. Anthony's - Indianapolis, IN
  • November 15 - Indianapolis Classical Schools - Indianapolis, IN
  • November 20 - Anderson Community Schools - Anderson, IN
  • November 21-22 - Richmond High School Career Center - Richmond, IN
  • November 27 - Central Rivers Education - Cedar Falls, IA
  • December 2 - St. Mary's Child Center - Indianapolis, IN
  • December 3 - Pike Township Schools - Indianapolis, IN
  • December 4 - Pleasant Run Elementary - Indianapolis, IN
  • December 5 - Indiana Association of Superintendents - Indianapolis, IN
  • December 6 - Indianapolis Classical Schools - Indianapolis, IN
  • December 9 - Carroll High School - Carroll, IA
  • December 11 - Guion Creek Elementary - Indianapolis, IN
  • December 12 - Abbett Elementary - Fort Wayne, IN
  • December 13 - OMNI Hotel - Indianapolis, IN
  • December 19 - Early Childhood Education - Indianapolis, IN
  • 2020 Schedule
    • January 2 - Iowa-Williamsburg Community District, Williamsburg, IA
    • January 6 - Carmel High School, Carmel, IN
    • January 7 - St. Lawrence Catholic School, Indianapolis, IN
    • January 8 - Early Learning Indiana, Indianapolis, IN
    • January 9 - Richmond High School, Richmond, IN
    • January 13 - Madison Schools, Madison, IN
    • January 14 - Pike Township (morning), Indianapolis, IN
    • January 16-17 - Cape Assist - New Jersey
    • January 21 - Madison Community Schools, Anderson, IN
    • January 22 - Community Schools of Frankfort, Frankfort, IN
    • January 23 - Crown Point Community Schools, Crown Point, IN
    • January 27 - Madison Consolidated Schools, Madison, IN
    • January 29 - IPS New Teachers- Indianapolis, IN
    • January 30 - Anderson Community Schools, Anderson, IN
    • February 4 - Vincennes Community School Corporation, Vincennes, IN
    • February 5 - Ignite Achievement Academy, Indianapolis, IN
    • February 7 - Wausaukee High School, Wausaukee, WI
    • February 10 - Northwest Allen County, Fort Wayne, IN
    • February 12 - Ignite Achievement Academy, Indianapolis, IN
    • February 13-15 - Learning and the Brain: Educating Anxious Minds Conference, San Francisco, CA
    More to come!
    “This book is a refreshing look at our philosophy of education and a reminder of what is most important in teaching."

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