The Mind-Body Connection in Learning

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Discusses how humans learn and describes the workings of the human brain and the complex connection between the mind, the body, and learning performance. (JOW)

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... Neurologists have claimed that the region of the brain that processes movement, the cerebellum, is the same region that processes the movement of thought (Strick, Dum, & Fiez, 2009; Flanagan, Vetter, Johansson, & Wolpert, 2003; Weiss, 2001). The discovery that the same brain anatomy was active during both movement and thought processing became an integral part of brain-based learning theory. ...
... Even the most elementary movement (such as walking) causes neural firing to activate in the deepest, most foundational areas of the cerebellum. Several researchers claimed that the cerebellum, which processes movement, also processes thought and pertains to memory (Katz & Steinmetz, 2002; Middleton & Strick, 2001; Weiss, 2001). In brain images, the cerebellum activates, or it shows an increase of glucose and oxygen metabolism, as a result of motion. ...
... Corbin (2008) claimed movement should be a part of the learning environment no matter the age of the participants. Exercise keeps the brain activated, and research has shown that physical movement affects thought and creates optimal learning states (Weiss, 2001; Corbin, 2008). Since the brain requires 20 percent of the body's intake of nutrition, oxygen, and blood flow, one must be cognizant of the influence of these components. ...
... In addition, through pioneering brain imaging technologies and genetic mapping, neuroscientists have learned more about the brain in the past decade than in all previous history (Quartz and Sejnowski, 2002). A new discipline known as cognitive neuroscience is beginning to make the connections between mindbody-context and how adults learn and continue learning throughout life (Weiss, 2001). The most prominent theorist to focus on the individual adult learner is Knowles (1970 Knowles ( , 1980), who proposed andragogy, " the art and science of teaching adults, " as a learning theory unique to adults. ...
This chapter describes a four-lens model for understanding adult learning theories and provides adult educators and administrators with a useful conceptual framework for working with adult learners in adult degree programs.
... Emotional and spiritual wellness can be promoted by incorporating somatic instruction and learning into aerobic classes. Weiss (2001) explained that minds and bodies work together to help people pay attention and solve problems through physiological states supporting mental efforts. Learning states can be optimized through movement and exercise. ...
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The purpose of this study was to explore the health messages communicated by aerobics instructors in aerobics classes for women. A theoretical framework influenced by adult learning theory and feminist pedagogy was used in this qualitative study. Over a 3-month period, the practices of five aerobics instructors working at one nonprofit fitness center and one wellness facility were explored. The methods of data collection were one interview with each aerobics instructor and 14 site visits to conduct participant observations and to retrieve of documents. Despite the nonprofit and wellness-based environment of the exercise facilities in this research, there was still an overemphasis on the physical aspect of aerobics classes. Therefore, the potential wellness-related benefits of aerobics classes for women, especially in environments that identified themselves as promoting wellness, were not fully realized.
Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to bring attention to a more embodied, holistic way of working which acknowledges not only the mind, but also the body and emotions, of learners and facilitators as they work together in a co-created relationship to experience a different way of learning and relating. The authors suggest that practitioners step away from the traditional boundaries of reflecting on experiential learning activities post action. They propose a stronger emphasis on working in relationship with clients in the here and now, to support novel ways of relating and learning to emerge. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Adapting a reflective inquiry approach, the authors engaged in reflective and reflexive practice to offer a conceptual paper on a dialogical and embodied orientation to experiential learning. Findings ‐ Learning within Outdoor Management Development (OMD) activities can be enriched within the context of a dialogical relationship where participants are invited to attend to their embodied experience and trust different ways of knowing. This requires a shift from the more individualist to a relational paradigm of relating and learning. Research limitations/implications ‐ The authors acknowledge the inter-subjective nature of learning that emerges from within the relationship. So, while a model is proposed to support meaning making, it is not prescribed and in fact the authors realise that it is paradoxical to the emergent nature of learning within relationships. Practical implications ‐ The authors seek an alternative approach to Kolb when facilitating experiential learning. They propose the Dialogical Experiential Learning Model, inviting facilitators and participants to be more curious about the experience of working in a specific context, while recognising it will be subject to change. Originality/value ‐ The dialogical orientation of practitioners and the use of a model does, however, offer guiding principles to support facilitation of experiential learning, while challenging current practitioner knowledge.
In order to explore new teaching and learning methods for undergraduates in chemistry at the University of Warwick, interactive workshops based on the periodic table were devised by a team of chemists and theatre practitioners. In the first term of the academic year, students were assigned an element to research, and were required to submit (unassessed) research essays. Students then attended a three-hour workshop in which they embodied their knowledge of the chemical behaviour of that element, interacting with other students in roles as ‘their’ element. These sessions were supported by ‘Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry’ lectures. This exercise was conducted with both the 2008 and 2009 student intake. The details of the workshops are described and the pedagogical impact discussed.
The Personal Problems Checklist for Adolescents (PPC-A) was administered to students in 14 Adventist academies for the purpose of determining the extent of their personal problems. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. The results showed that the top 10 problems were: (1) poor study habits; (2) worrying about future job or college; (3) not enough money; (4) not enough exercise; (5) being tired and having no energy; (6) no time to relax; (7) poor sleeping habits; (8) bored in school; (9) having trouble concentrating; and (10) being shy. There were differences found among, (a) the types of academies; (b) male and female students; and (c) age groups. Self-supporting academies reported more frequent problems; females reported more problems than males; and problems increased by age. All 13 scales of the problems on the PPC-A, were significantly correlated.
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