Brain synapse pyrotechnics fire like lightning storms in outer space.
educational philosophy (Press to listen.)
I believe in Safe Haven Schools,* addressing students' physical, social-emotional, academic, and creative needs.
I believe in honoring children's whole selves by providing them with physical, social, emotional, and creative safety.*
I believe that emotional engagement invites classroom engagement.
I believe that children and adults may be overwhelmed by megastress*, or the stress of inheriting this mess!
I know we can heal this megastress by beginning to fully acknowledge and address it as a culture and a planet.
I know we can heal this megastress by honoring and protecting kids' and adults' whole selves in school.
I know we built upon the foundation of neuroscience and brain-scan technology to create brain-based learning.*
I know that brain-based learning addresses the whole child in school and results in high academic achievement.
I trust the natural alliance of brain-based and online learning because they both optimize how the brain works best!
I trust this natural alliance because Brain-based-eLearning's* approaches are:
and diverse learning styles!
My educational mission is to transform schools into safe havens for children and adults.
Children are inheriting a planet whose institutional systems, for the most part, are seriously out of balance. Questions about the planet’s future – in fact, its very survival - create a form of stress underlying most of our consciousnesses. Children's stress goes even deeper than adults' because they are children; and because of cultural denial we have left them to face these questions alone.
I call this level of stress megastress because it pervades our consciousness so deeply and with such complexity and breadth that we count it as part of our identity. I believe we must openly acknowledge and address this tremendous psychic strain of ignoring what our senses are telling us every day. I believe school is the wisest place to address megastress through social and emotional learning (SEL), the brainchild of brain-based learning.
In fact, the brain is really quite an emotional organ and greatly responds to stress. Too much stress negatively affects the brain, overwhelming the higher-order thinking center and shutting it down. The body's autonomic nervous system automatically takes over, flooding the body with stress chemicals. As the neocortex shuts down, the information flow bypasses it leaving us unable to think clearly in panic situations. To address this as well as other "brain teasers" educators created brain-based learning, whose foundation is neuroscience and the scientific evidence of brain-scan technology. Because the brain's activity rests so firmly on social and emotional conditions, social-emotional learning is brain-based learning's natural outgrowth. SEL promotes safety in school - social, emotional, creative, and physical safety - so children become free to fully exercise their brains and do what comes naturally - learn! Experience and now scientific evidence shows that SEL in school creates academic excellence as its natural by-product!
Brain-based learning’s foundation is science, as brain-scan technology shows us how the human brain actually works. Brain-based educators have applied the results of brain-scan testing to pedagogy and discovered that what children’s brains need to learn optimally, besides plenty of rest, water, and good nutrition, is a muti-tiered level of safety: social, emotional, physical, and, I add, creative safety.
I recognize children's need for creative safety as well as the physical, social and emotional kinds because children need to feel safe to express themselves. I believe it is time to hear from children, both within and outside of school. Creative safety protects children’s right to self-expression and supports them in choosing to learn what is exciting to them and how they learn best. Creative safety most especially protects the imagination by encouraging children to use it; staying in contact with their hearts and minds and bodies supports them to think and create and talk and express and write and learn for themselves! Providing kids with creative safety protects their rights to privacy, as well. Creative safety closes the loop with social and emotional and physical safety so children may completely relax in school, with each other and all the adults, from the janitor to the superintendent, and be free to soak up learning like the sponges they naturally (and metaphorically) are!
I call schools that employ creative, physical, academic, social, and emotional learning Safe Haven Schools. I believe in providing children resources to reduce megastress by finding safe haven within themselves, each other, and school, thus having the tools to greet the road as it rises up to meet them.
E-learning's hands-on, student-centered, inquiry- and brain-based approaches (not to mention the kinesthetic appeal of pushing buttons and getting immediate results) are also shifting how we think about education. Online learning is producing a metacognitive (over-arching thought) transformation in our thinking by its very nature; students at their computers in a virtual classroom of necessity must be more self-reliant than their counterparts in an actual classroom. Online students' reward for this independence is in generating learning for themselves. Teachers become more of a guide on the side than the sage on the stage. Students learn what fascinates them by exercising their creative freedom. They follow their own tangents, creating relationships between the new information and what is already in their brains, laying down new neural pathways as they go. This is how the brain naturally learners - relationally. Inherent in this metacognitive transformation, or shift, is a challenge to students to become creators of their own curricula. E-learning, in its emphasis on problem-solving, critical thinking, inquiry, constructivism, and what is now called deeper learning, runs parallel to brain-based learning all the way. All of the foregoing attributes are qualities of how the brain learns naturally. These brainbased e-learning principles form an irresistible challenge to the rest of the educational world to adapt!
I started KidsWorx magazine (www.RuthVirginia.wix.com/PeaceWorx) designed to provide kids with creative and social support - an emotional safe haven - to express themselves. I believe we need to hear from children and kids need to voice out to us. KidsWorx magazine is written by children for children and their adult supporters, to give kids a written and multimedia voice in this world.
I also adapted KidsWorx for classroom publishing to inspire children to write and otherwise create in school. KidsWorx Classroom is a program where kids can see their work published in booklet form and hopefully be further inspired to write and create.
I created KidsWorx to provide a voice for children in the world but also to acknowledge that inheriting the planet as it is right now might be a stressful thing for them. I believe such a magazine can provide safe space for children to voice out their own views on this subject and many others. But most of all, I am hopeful that by attending to this megastress, KidsWorx will provide an outlet for kids, and thus, healing attention. Thank you!
Eeagleman, D. Webinar: 10/13/15. Uncovering the Mysteries Behind the Brain. PBS Learning Media.
Keonig, M. More Thunder 2 Sound. License Attribution 3.0 | Recorded by Mike Koenig | File Size: 4.1. Retrieved 10/20/15 from http://soundbible.com/1835-More-Thunder-2.html.