The Noble Role of Teachers:
Transforming Ourselves to Change the World
Study Session 13 – Further Exploration of Wellbeing and the Heart-Brain Connection
When discussing the happiness and wellbeing of children as an important factor in improving academic outcomes in school children, education researchers who draw upon neurophysiological findings mostly refer to the brain as the agent to undergo change. Even when it is amply demonstrated that values education and quality teaching can be relied upon to bring about desirable outcomes for our children, again the assumption largely made is that it is the millions of neural networks in the brain that arranges for this to happen. Only in a relatively few publications has the role of the heart been included in the considerations of how such changes take place.
The fairly recent findings about a heart-brain connection, and their relevance for education are now moving towards being more generally recognized. New understandings about the physiology of positive emotions and the key role played by the heart in the generation of emotional experience have positive implications for education. Studies have shown that signals from the heart to the brain can affect our ability to think clearly, focus attention, recall information, learn and reason. The nature of this input coming from the heart is determined by the positivity or negativity of our emotions.
All thoughts arise from the heart and lead to actions. Hence for all thoughts, words and deeds, the heart is the source. What should be the condition of the heart?
It should be full of compassion.
~ Sathya Sai Baba (1926 – 2011)
The purpose of this exercise is to bring about a deeper understanding of how authentic happiness, life satisfaction and wellbeing (particularly in the school setting) can be enhanced through focussing on the heart-brain connection.
The Exercise – Step 1
On the internet, search for: Heart-Brain Archives – HeartMath Institute.
The Exercise – Step 2
On the RHS of the Home page, you will see Tags. Scroll down and click on the topics that you feel might be most relevant for learning how to maximise wellbeing, authentic happiness and life satisfaction.
Although all of the topics are fruitful to explore, we found the following to be useful: Appreciation, Cardiac Coherence Training, Heart-based Living, Inner Stillness, Resilience and Self-regulation. Makes notes as you explore, and record the significant ones in your Journal.
The Exercise – Step 3
Referring to your notes in both this Exercise and the one in the previous Study Session, write a short essay on the topic: The relevance of the heart-brain connection for teacher and student wellbeing.
The Exercise – Step 4
The Exercise – Step 5
“We cannot find peace when the mind rages against the heart, when we fight with our thoughts the pull of love.”
— Dragos Bratasanu (2018)
The Pursuit of Dreams: Claim your Power, Follow your Heart, and Fulfil your Destiny.
“Those who are nurtured best survive best. It turns out that our emotional resilience and our ability to learn are inextricably interwoven.“
— Louis Cozolino (2013)
The Social Neuroscience of Education: Optimizing attachment and learning in the classroom