Have you lost your house keys recently? If so, you probably applied a spot of logical thinking. You looked first in the most obvious places – bags and pockets – and then mentally retraced your steps to the point when you last used them.
Researchers looking at child development often use search-and-find tasks to look at the ways in which children apply what they are learning about the physical world. Tests carried out on toddlers reveal that something quite remarkable happens in child development between the ages of two and five – a stage identified by both educationalists and neuroscientists as critical to the capacity for learning.
Dr Sara Baker is a researcher into early childhood at the Faculty of Education. She is interested in the role of the brain’s prefrontal lobe in how young children learn to adapt their understanding to an ever-shifting environment. Many of her studies chart changes in children’s ways of thinking about the world. She uses longitudinal designs to examine the shape of individual children’s learning curves month by month.
Research by Baker and colleagues is contributing to an understanding of the acquisition of skills essential to learning. She explains: “The brain’s frontal lobe is one of the four major divisions of the cerebral cortex. It regulates decision-making, problem-solving and behaviour. We call these functions executive skills – they are at the root of the cognitive differences between humans and other animals. My executive functions enable me to resist a slice of cake when I know I’m soon having dinner.”
We all have conversations going on constantly in our heads. For some of us they are subtle, passive, and help us feel protected and safe. For others, they are much more aggressive and destructive. Make your self-talk work for you rather than against you.
Think Carrot! programme for mindfulness in schools.Think Carrot! is a mindfulness programme designed to help children and young people develop a greater awareness of themselves, their bodies and their...
‘Mindfulness’ has become a buzzword, yet its meaning and origins have received relatively little critical consideration. This article places the current ‘mindfulness movement’ in context, examining the evolving discourse surrounding the concept of mindfulness. Through the first systematic etymology of the term, drawing from old Western and Buddhist writings, contemporary psychology and popular media, it is established that the contemporary understanding of mindfulness has been substantially simplified and divorced from its origins. However, quantitative data suggests that this manoeuvre was essential for the mainstreaming of the concept. Moreover, the resulting momentum has stimulated a new and dynamic discourse about the relationship between ‘secular’ mindfulness and Buddhism, sparking questions about ‘McMindfulness’, ‘stealth’ Buddhism and cultural imperialism. Therefore, this article argues that the recontextualisation of mindfulness created the scaffolding that supported the emergence of a deeper and more meaningful conversation about its implications for Buddhism and society that we see today.
Sun, J. (2014). Mindfulness in Context: A Historical Discourse Analysis. Contemporary Buddhism, 15, 2 (pp. 394-415). doi: 10.1080/14639947.2014.978088
If you are involved in any way with HR or L&D it is likely you have heard about mindfulness. It may well feature somewhere on your ‘to do’ list, whether filed in the ‘figure out what everyone is talking about’ column, or under choosing a ‘taster’ session or programme for your organisation. Whether it is central to your strategy right now, or just on your horizon, knowing more about how mindfulness has come to prominence and how it can help you is a step in the right direction.
Schoolchildren obviously need to know the ins-and-outs of English, maths, science et al, but what about the areas surrounding emotional wellbeing? Veteran SEN and mental health specialist Julia Sharman takes a look at why this area is so crucial.
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