Mind the Mind: Understanding the Links Between Stress, Emotional Well-Being and Learning in Educational Contexts

By Michael Nagel.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the last decade there has been a growing body of research literature focusing on ‘stress’ and its effects on humans. Historically much of what has been written regarding stress has not had the insights now available through neuroscientific research which identifies a worrying connection between stress and cognitive impairment. Given these new insights and a greater understanding of the deleterious impact of some forms of stress, it appears axiomatic that emotional wellbeing must be larger part of any learning, and by association, educational agenda. In many respects developmental and educational psychologists have long known the importance of providing safe and supportive learning environments for children in an effort to ensure that schools could be a potential oasis of calm for all students. Yet it would appear that more can and should be done. This paper provides a theoretical foundation examining impact of stress on learning and draws on contemporary neuroscientific research to outline what stress is, how negative stress impacts on the body and mind and why schools may be the optimum sites for buffering the impact of stress, building resilience and enhancing individual capacities for learning.

Keywords: Emotional Well-Being, Stress, Cognition and Learning, Neuroscience

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp.33-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.154MB).

Dr. Michael Nagel

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Science, Health and Education, The University of the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Dr. Nagel’s work focuses on cognition and learning with a particular emphasis on neuro-development. He has published a number of articles and books focusing on neurological development from birth through adolescence and the impact of this on learning and behaviour. His current research interests focus on the impact of stress on development and learning and the importance of enhancing emotional and social well-being as well as learning capacities in children within educational contexts.


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