As we begin to feel the pressures of the upcoming tests ahead, let us be reminded of this tip from our series:
“The emotional center of the brain is so powerful that negative emotions such as hostility, anger, fear and anxiety automatically downshift the brain to basic survival thinking.
Imagine the impact on student learning in an environment dominated by academic or social pressures, threats of punishment, or peer hostility.
In such an environment, the reasoning center of the brain shuts down and students automatically prepare to flee, fight, or freeze in our tracks. The brain is so thoroughly preoccupied with survival needs that students are literally unavailable for the complex activities of the mind that learning requires. Their curiosity, wonder, and ability to focus are usurped by a state of heightened vigilance and an immediate need for protection and security.
Look for instances of this happening in yourself and your students. Ask what you can do to enhance emotional safety in your learning environment.”
The Committee for Children uses a simple pie graph to illustrate the three ways educators can create a positive classroom environment: