Research: Neurologist Judy Willis argues the importance of eliminating stress from the school environment to promote learning. Just as the brain needs stimulating input, it also needs rest to be able to process it. Overstimulation can lead to burnout, which engages filters in the brain that limit the flow of information and inhibit learning. Neurologists often subscribe to the saying, “the brain downshifts under stress.” By contrast, the brain works at optimal levels in positive emotional states.
Practice: At Chrysalis we know we need relaxed brains to work with, so we create conditions that allow for it: allowing students to work at their “just right” level of challenge, reducing competition, creating a positive social culture, allowing students a say in their scheduling, and giving them time during their day to process what they’ve learned and prepare for their next task.