The basic summary of her research is that the area of our brain that literally (and I do mean literally) keeps our heart beating, our lungs breathing, and systems necessary for life functioning is the very same area of the brain where we experience our emotions; our midbrain, which is the area known as our affective network (Immordino-Yang, 2011). What this means is that when we or our students experience extraordinary moments the reason those moments stay with us so long is they are actually happening in the same areas of our brain that are sustaining life..
So how does this relate to teaching you ask? Well this means when we facilitate extraordinary moments inside and outside the design of our instruction for our students, we are actually changing the way that their brain functions. Dr. Immordino-Yang has studied what happens to the brain when it experiences moments of inspiration or awe and what she has found is that bloodflow actually increases to the very places that keep us alive. That is what makes that moment so very memorable. The implications for this is that engagement really really matters from a brain stand point, something that any teacher of course knows, but biologically science has now proven it to be so.
So when we create an emotional hook that draws students into our lessons, when we give the right encouragement at the right moment in terms of specific feedback, when we pat a student on the back and reinforce their value to us; it specifically and powerfully changes both the way they think and has the potential to create an impression that they will literally never forget. The implications for this are endless and gives all of us an awesome opportunity to make a difference everyday! Need ideas? The checkpoints below are designed to specifically impact this area of students' brains.
Think and Be Happy. “Dr Mary Helen Immordino-Yang 'We Feel, Therefore We Learn' at Mind & Its Potential 2011.” YouTube, YouTube, 16 Apr. 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=85BZRVE6M0o&index=19&list=PLiEEVaszwWmAS1aa1qYhYfrRYOGGDyX01&t=0s.
Sanger unified school district
Curriculum & Instruction department