Educational Therapy

There has been extensive research into the role emotions play in learning.  Called the “new paradigm in teaching,” (Eric Jenson) brain-based education is re-defining what the brain needs to function at its highest capacity.  Among many reputable universities in the U.S. and abroad, Harvard now offers master’s and doctoral programs in Mind, Brain and Education (MBE).  It represents an integrative model where biology, cognitive science and pedagogy meet.   Basically, it means that we think clearer when we are feeling safe, comfortable, and capable.  That’s not really any big news, yet we still aren’t seeing how that knowledge could elevate the ways we educate.

In his book, Brain-Based Learning, Eric Jenson devotes a chapter to the fact that our emotions directly influence our ability to learn.  “The old way of thinking about the brain is that mind, body and feelings are separate entities, but there’s actually no division between these functions.  Our emotions help us focus our reason and logic.  Our logical side may help us set goals, but it is our emotional side that provides the passion to persevere through trying times.  Holistic learning means that we as teachers acknowledge learners’ emotions, feelings, beliefs, cravings, problems, attitudes, and skills, and include them in the learning process.”  (Jenson, p.82)   Educational therapy is holistic in nature.  It considers all aspects of a client’s learning style, environment, background, temperament, and goals.

As an educator and private tutor in Dallas, my experience cam be summed up simply: for many kids, instruction is not enough.  All day at school, students are bombarded with information; it becomes overwhelming.  The mind is struggling to make sense of it within a contextual framework, to integrate it, to make associations.  This is a very natural need.  When there is fragmentation, there is loss of meaning.  I believe the process of educational therapy helps kids recover a more whole sense of self—a self that is capable and empowered.

For more information on brain-based learning, check out:

Kelley Carter is an Educational Therapist Candidate and  private tutor specializing in learning differences, College test preparation, and ADD. Her practice is located in Dallas, Texas and also serves the Lakewood, Highland Park, and Lake Highlands communities.

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