Explore Nueroscience in Education with Dr. Lori Desautels

Neuroscience and the Heart-Companions in Education

The Brain and Heart in Learning


brain in learningNeuroscience in education has been a growing body of research and knowledge for the past 30 years. What we clearly understand is that if we are to engage our students with subject matter desiring academic mastery, building relationships are the keys to the new academic Kingdom. Perspective drives understanding and therefore learning. When a student feels empowered and a teacher connects to that source of felt well being, learning takes off!

The brain is wired for novelty, patterns, and meaning making. Research has confirmed and reported that the heart has an electromagnetic field that is up to 60 times more powerful than the brain. So relational skills, mainly understanding and compassion are the engines for academic mastery and positive change in our student’s lives and our own lives. These concepts transcend the walls of the classroom and it is a crucial time to open our perspectives to relational learning and leadership. What is relational learning? It is teaching and learning from the place of understanding, awe, novelty and compassion? It is the place where we jump inside the skin of another trying to understand, question and relate to a world that may be vastly different than our own. This is leadership at its best. When we lead one another with heart and mind we discover one another for the first time. We allow the goodness in every person to explode with possibility exploring and then positively viewing what we desire to see in our students, colleagues and administration. Believe it or not, what we hold as our vision will be the reality. The challenge is, to hold the vision even during those tenuous times when behaviors and words spout negative emotion. Finding a glimmer of hope and a positive stance will ensure a trail of intentional and and productive peace endowed perspectives leading to the changes we desire.

In practical terms, we understand the prior knowledge that one brings to the relationship and educational setting. We build on this prior knowledge each moment, we ask questions, because the brain loves questions and continues to process questions long after they have been asked. We explore a different perspective when a head is down on a desk or the explitive is thrown into the equation and we stop judging. We begin to creatively think, how may I serve this student, this colleague, the individual that is suffering? We cannot change another’s behaviors or words but we can choose how we respond and how we perceive each event or experience. Changing perspective ignites positive emotion and the early or even chronic stress of a teaching experience or episode begins to lessen when we do.

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