During my convocation address to faculty and staff, I had the opportunity to share some fascinating research on how social and emotional learning changes brain chemistry and helps children and adults learn.
The amazing advances in brain imaging technology allow neuroscientists to see, in real time, how experiences like reading an engaging book, meditation and sharing with others impact regions of the brain that regulate our ability to manage stress and optimize learning (make us feel good and improve cognition). The good news, according to neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson, is that qualities such as patience, calmness, cooperation and kindness are all best-regarded as skills that can be trained – not traits given. Moreover, brain neuroplasticity occurs throughout life with no time limit, so the old adage “you’re never too old to learn” really applies in this situation. Across the district, administrators and teachers are introducing/prioritizing social and emotional learning working with consultant/educator Linda Lantieri to engage students in mindfulness and inner resilience activities. We are committed to creating a positive learning environment whereby students utilize a range of social and emotional strategies throughout their lives as a means to optimize learning and build positive relationships. Here is a link to Davidson’s presentation: http://www.edutopia.org/richard-davidson-sel-brain-video
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