Cognitive Learning

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”                                                                                                                                                             – Proverbs 16:24

“The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning.”                                                                                                                                                            – Proverbs 16:21

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1.  Within neuroscience is a field referred to as Cognitive Neuroscience – it is the study of the relation between the brain and learning 1

2.  In the educational setting, the single greatest influence on learners is the classroom climate, and researchers have found a biological reason for this 2

3.  In climates typified by positive challenge and joy, your brain releases Endorphins—neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain and produce a sense of well being. 3

4.  Studies show that laughter and kindness cause our bodies to release endorphins (they are also released when you go for a run or eat chocolate or spicy food) 4

5  .Interestingly, endorphins are the neurotransmitters that allow bears and other animals to hibernate, as they help slow the heart and respiration rate, causing the body to relax 5

6.  Endorphins were discovered in 1973 by Solomon Snyder and Candace Pert of Johns Hopkins, but long before that the Bible gave clues to their existence and function. 6

7.  The Bible is accurate in its neuroscience, even in regard to the chemicals released by the brain.

8.  And while education is less measurable in that it is both an art and a science, when the Bible addresses topics related to teaching and learning, it always speaks to best practice in education.

Notes:

  1. http://cogneurosociety.org/
  2. Mills, R.C., Relationship between school motivational climate, presenter attitudes, student mental health, school failure, and health damaging behavior. Paper at Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association. April. Washington, DC, 1987
    Jensen, Eric, Brain-Based Learning, edition 1., 2000
    Levinthal, C., Messengers of Paradise: Opiates and the Brain, 1988
    Rosenthal, R; and L. Jacobsen, Pygmalion in the Classroom, 1968
    Sylwester, Robert, A Celebration of Neurons, 1995
  3. http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/genpsyneurotransmitters.html
  4. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/science/14laughter.html
  5. http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/genpsyneurotransmitters.html
  6. http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/genpsyneurotransmitters.html