Sunday, January 27, 2013

Body shapes mind as well

Week 2

Topics during this week

  • understand how the emotional brain can trigger or hinder learning
  • come up with activities that promote the effective use of emotion to enhance learning
  • explore if different types of reward (intrinsic X extrinsic) can trigger motivation equally
  • share their findings and ideas with the group
  • continue digitally curating brain-related resources
  • share ideas on how educators can enhance learning taking into account what they've learned about the emotional brain & motivation

Task 4

Portfolio Entry
Food for Thought:
Have you had challenging students?
After learning about the emotional brain, the fight/flight/freeze concept, and how the amygdala works, how would you change your teaching? How would you change the way you relate to your students? 
What in your class would you keep the same as you've realized you've been dealing appropriately with students' emotional brain?

Dealing with the challenging students

Preparatory power posing as a simple performance-boosting tool with the potential to benefit almost anyone

Body language
Body shapes mind as well

While reading very interesting participants' discussion, I stumbled upon TED Talk by Harvard Psychologist Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are - recommended by my fellow course participant Flávia Uhlmann. Just got the idea how to deal with my difficult students. I have a few of them, fortunately, but they tend to drain my energy from time to time, since I don't feel I can positively influence them at all. So, I decided to make them help themselves. I want to give them some extra confidence. From the above mentioned TED video I learned that power can come from a body posture.

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” -- standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident -- can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.Amy Cuddy’s research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body positions. 

"Don't fake it till you make it. 
Fake it till you become it."
(Amy Cuddy) 

I am willing to give it a try. Next time, at the beginning of the lesson, I will ask my students to take one of recommended high-power body postures for two minutes. I will ask them to find one they like the most. If we find them to be effective, we will practice them before all public concerts and exams.
It should become their second nature.

 Here's how the authors sum up their results:

"This experiment demonstrates that preparatory power posing affects individuals‘ presence during a job interview, which in turn influences judges‘ evaluations and hiring decisions. Compared to low-power posers, high-power posers appeared to better maintain their composure, to project more confidence, and to present more captivating and enthusiastic speeches, which led to higher overall performance evaluations." 
Read more here.

Another very interesting note, written by my fellow participant Marineide Rodrigues Colson made me think! I teach piano at music school. Teachers usually give students suggestion to dress up nicely. Till now I wasn't aware of the influence that this "external" image certainly has on kids (and others as well). Here is a part of Marineide's note:

By doing that, the kids would naturally behave better. So, if you are dressed up you will behave accordingly. On the contrary, if you are dressed down, you will feel "too" comfortable and will be "too" relaxed for that occasion. You know what I mean? so, the outward behavior (or body language) will influence the learning. Very interesting stuff!


  1. Dear Maja,
    Another great post you wrote about week 2. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas about the body language. I think that it is all what we have when we deal with our students. We can't know what is going on in their brains. However, body language can be an output of what they feel and can't say.

    If you have time, please visit my blog and leave a comment to me. Here is a link to my week 2 reflections: Do you have Tonys in your classes?

    All the best!

    1. Yes, dear Azhar, I agree with you that body language discloses their inner state. Oh yes, I will visit your blog, of course. :) Thank you.

  2. Hi Maja, Clothing is a part of nonverbal communication too! Excellent point for consideration. Thank you for sharing your reflections on week 2.

    1. Hi Mary! Well said! :) Thank you for your visit! :)