Mind and Body – Helping Students to Make the Connect While Learning
You as the teacher need to be aware of how the mind and body connection works in your learners. Keeping a balance of physical activity and mental stimulation, conducive to learning, is a juggling act of planning and being aware of the dynamics of your learning area.
Stress, in yourself and your learners, is the most damaging process for the body’s immune systems which is needed to maintain good health and enhance the teaching/learning process.
Maintaining good health and working in a stress free environment is essential for learners and teachers to:
- be able to think clearly;
- comprehend and process effectively;
- feel relaxed and positive about learning;
- and for teachers to be effective in planning and delivering curriculum.
Tips for Striving for Mind and Body Connection in the Learning Area
- Make sure your learning area is set up so learners feel comfortable and relaxed. If they are climbing over obstacles or are uncomfortable where they sit then re adjust the setting. Ask for their input on how they would like to see the learning area.
- Make full use of quiet times. Play soft music, provide comfortable lounging cushions, and allow time for short power naps to refresh older learners. These are not privileges but essential for some learners to be able to refocus and complete their day.
- Discuss healthy eating habits and provide learning experiences which add to a learner’s knowledge of the five food groups and healthy eating patterns.
- Talk to parents. This should be done early in the year so they too can watch what their children eat and make sure they have breakfast and are provided with a nutritious lunch. Discuss the importance of sleep and decreased stress to enhance learning.
- Make up a short exercise routine which can be done easily in the learning area. Learners can stand by their chairs for stretching and bending exercises or running on the spot. There are lots of short action verses that wake up the body and the mind.
- Provide time for active play and sports. Remember working mind and body in harmony is developmental and different in each learner.
- Provide experiences that stretch thinking and problem solving. Have learners work in groups and encourage calm cooperation and sharing of ideas.
- Encourage creativity as this is an expression of both thought and physical activity weather it is playing an instrument or doing a collage.
- Make time for special interest groups and fun activities. Chess, poetry, board games, cards, dressing up, and building with blocks are all thought provoking and fun.
- School holidays are times for relaxation and resting. NO SCHOOL WORK PLEASE. It is a good idea to tell the learners of something positive they will be doing the next term. You may be planning an excursion to a zoo or the water park. End each term on a positive note.
- As always be a role model. Eat healthy and join the learners in activities. Don’t be the only person buzzing around in quiet time. Sit down, feet up and connect mind and body.
The Science Behind Mind and Body Connection While Learning
Now that you can see that there is a direct correlation between the mind and body when learning, let’s talk about how we know this is true.
We know this is true because the brain is what some refer to as a “thinking organ”. Because the brain is the center of all activity and functionality, it only makes sense that we would want to feed it properly from a nutrition standpoint as well as good information. The saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out”. Scientific research has taught us that whenever something new has been learned there is a new groove in the brain that develops. So the question is your students feeling groovy?
There is no doubt that mental stimulation improves learning, and so it is that many of us could learn more! The more we learn the more we are growing, and for different students, that may mean learning in different ways. This could also mean that learning somehow coincides with physical activity, or even in a quiet environment.
Use the Mind and Body Connection to Prevent Cognitive Decline
Did you know that encouraging the mind and body connection will help to prevent cognitive decline? This is why it’s important that we make the connection early in life on behalf of our students. We need to know that we are helping them by building not only their ability to learn, but by ensuring that they learn.
If you are using physical activities to help teach your students, then test them afterwards, and you will know if it is working. If you find that a group of students are not being engaged or learning in this way, then you might need to get creative to help them learn another way. This is part of teaching, but helping them get that mind and body connection is your job, and don’t forget that.
The brain is able to continually adapt on its own, but just be sure that you don’t leave it to chance that students are doing less than they could be doing because you aren’t implementing these things in your classroom.
Closing in on the Mind and Body Connection
If you have any doubt that this works, it would be wise for you to study how bodybuilders train themselves on the fact that mind and the body become one. This is supposed to help them visualize how they want their body to look while they are working out. This has worked for centuries, so it’s no different with your students!
Don’t delay in learning more about the mind and body connection, because your students are your responsibility, and without you implementing this, it could prevent them from learning at their full potential.