Mind the Mind: The Importance of Developing Emotional Well-Being in Educational Contexts
In the last decade there has been a growing body of research literature focusing on ‘stress’ and its effects on humans. Historically much of what has been written regarding stress has not had the insights now available through neuroscientific research which identifies a worrying connection between stress and cognitive impairment. Given these new insights and a greater understanding of the deleterious impact of some forms of stress, it appears axiomatic that emotional wellbeing must be larger part of any educational agenda. In many respects developmental and educational psychologists have long known the importance of providing safe and supportive learning environments for children in an effort to ensure that schools could be a potential oasis of calm for all students. Yet it would appear that more can and should be done. This paper provides insights into the impact of stress on learning and draws on contemporary neuroscientific research to outline what stress is, how negative stress impacts on the body and mind and why schools may be the optimum sites for buffering the impact of stress, building resilience and enhancing individual capacities to learn.
Keywords: Emotional Well-Being, Stress and Learning, Neuroscience
Dr. Michael Nagel
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Science, Health and Education, The University of the Sunshine Coast