If you could find an inexpensive and healthy way to improve the lack of learning engagement, focused study and positive social interactions in your classroom and school, would you use it?
The good news is there is something out there that will improve learning, attitudes and social-emotional issues. It’s not a pill. It’s not an app for your phone. It’s not a new book of strategies from the latest education guru.
What is it?!
It’s a combination of EXERCISE, EATING nutritious foods and APPLYING the wisdom of God’s Word.
To increase brain capacity, focus and memory, we all need exercise and healthy food. Neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki discovered just how important exercise is not only to physical health but for achieving a healthy mind.
“…to celebrate her birthday, she booked an adventure trip that forced her to wake up to a startling reality: despite her professional success, she was overweight, lonely, and tired and knew that her life had to change. Wendy started simply—by going to an exercise class.
Eventually, she noticed an improvement in her memory, her energy levels, and her ability to work quickly and move from task to task easily. Not only did Wendy begin to get fit, but she also became sharper, had more energy, and her memory improved. Being a neuroscientist, she wanted to know why.” – http://www.wendysuzuki.com/the-book/
How well are you feeding your brain? Yes, What You Eat Affects Your Brain – Huffington Post
How well are you applying God’s Word each day?
“…Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 (TLB)
I’m an avid fan of criminal investigation shows and documentaries exploring the minds of violent criminals. Recently, I stumbled across the video by Dr. Suzuki after watching the video below entitled Violent Minds. Notice the areas of the brain which light up on the scans (most notably the prefrontal cortex) – normal brains compared to those brains which have a propensity toward violence.
The violent minds video is around 50 minutes long so fast forward it and watch minutes 17:34 – 21:02 which highlights what has been discovered from studying the scans of impulsive individuals who often have ADHD.
Today, I found this research from Professor Jim Fallon. You may be like me and wondering how and why criminal behavior starts? Does it start in the mind or soul? Is it a matter of good vs. evil? Is it nature or nurture? Watch this…
Since the minds of impulsive criminals (not the organized and calculating minds of psychopaths) do not properly activate certain areas of the brain and exercise promotes activity in those parts of the brain, shouldn’t exercise play a major role in rehabilitation, mental health programs as well as teaching and learning?
What is the best way to use exercise throughout the school day? How might exercise and social-emotional learning be embedded across classrooms in an effort to improve mental health? What do teachers need to know about social-emotional learning in order to implement best practices in their classrooms?
How might you rely on God’s grace to rebuild your mind and your life each day? How might this help you to support your students?
“You will be rebuilt.” – Blog post which highlights Jer. 31:4 where God promises to rebuild our ruins – Joni Eareckson Tada at Joni and Friends
In no way do I want to oversimplify issues of learning or social-emotional and mental health. But in a day and age in which teacher workdays begin with preparedness training for what to do in the event of an armed intruder, social-emotional health has to be of upmost importance in schools and classrooms. It’s critical that educators notice the signs which indicate a student may be hurting emotionally or may be mentally unstable. We must do all that we can to support not only the mastery of academic standards but to support the CHILD.
Today’s education landscape is vast and complicated and educators face challenges unlike any before. I believe it’s time for each of us to reboot and reconnect:
- do more by doing less (do only what matters most)
- connect offline more than online (spend more time with people than with their social media profiles)
- eat right (buy local; grow or raise your own food)
- be kind and loving
- connect to Father God daily
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 (KJV)
Photo Credit: flickr