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Dr. Anson Chen

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    • #82997

      Hello Dr. Craig,

      I am deeply grateful for your reply, with ample of supportive ideas including research reference that highlight the benefits of using more physical movements to change the body state or learning postures that can naturally regulate the brain chemicals.

      It’s encouraging to hear how teachers you worked with are making the positive changes, while those approaches you share are wonderful ideas for teachers in Asia to learn about too. Yes, let’s keep exploring and expanding our applications.

      Once again thank you for enriching our learning.


    • #82225

      3 more days to go and we shall be entering 2018, within the last year have we been able to Laugh a bit more or make someone laugh with a good sense of humor?

      In fact, Humor and Laughter is an area where I myself lack since entering adulthood. Hence it’s one of my goals to explore further and keep growing to develop a sense of humor, finding humor, appreciating humor as well as spreading humor. So here wishing to share some of my findings of which I have also published in our institute on this topic and hope that in 2018, we all laugh more, have more fun in another 366 days journey.

      Advantages of laughing:
      ● Lower blood pressure
      ● Relax your brain
      ● Increase memory and learning
      ● improve your alertness, creativity, and memory

      Laughter and humour is Healthy for the Brain !!!
      So let’s laugh and below are two jokes and a quiz question, let me know if they make you laugh.

      Jokes:
      When my wife starts to sing I always go out and do some garden work so our neighbors can see there’s no domestics violence going on.

      An elementary school teacher sends this note to all parents on the first day of school.
      “If you promise not to believe everything your child says happens at school, I will promise not to believe everything your child says happens at home.

      What is owned by you but mostly used by others? (Make a guess and share your answer with me, see if we have the same thoughts for a laugh??)

      Wishing everybody a “Joyful 2018″…… ^0^


    • #82076

      As we welcome 2017 Christmas, let’s look at a few research which show that Avocado is another Great Brain Food, then comes a recipe which uses Avocado for preparing a pasta sauce!! We may then celebrate this year’s Christmas with another 5 senses appealing Delight!!

      AVOCADO – Why it is good:
      • Supply a number of essential nutrients including minerals like potassium, which is needed to ward off mental confusion and depression.¹
      • Rich in antioxidants that protect the brain and eyes.
      • Supply vitamins A, C, E, which will protect brain cells from the free radical damage induced by high stress level.
      • Provide a source of tryptophan which is an essential building block for a very important brain chemical, serotonin involved in regulating mood.
      • Contain naturally Good Fats – Monounsaturated Fat and Polyunsaturated Fat

      Research
      Healthy fats, like those found in olive oil and avocados, don’t just keep belly fat at bay. They can also ward off a bad mood. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid, increases the feel-good chemical serotonin in the brain, keeping you calm. In a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers at the University of Nivarra in Spain found that people who consumed a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, nuts, fish and olive oil were 30 percent less likely to become depressed.²
      COLUMBUS, The Ohio State University Research — The type of fat in avocados not only helps the body absorb carotenoids such as beta-carotene, but it also helps convert them to vitamin A — a vital function that could reduce severe vitamin A deficiencies in the developing world.³
      References:
      ¹ Perretta, L. (2004), Brain Food , Octopus Publishing Group Ltd, p.90
      ²http://www.naturesmarketkent.com/promog/ConditionCenter.asp?ConditionID=13&ArticleID=131&StoreID=ua8wnbexc6sr2nm700akhlbd3lbfdn65
      ³ https://cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/ohio-state-research-fat-in-avocado-helps-body-absorb-convert-vitamin-nutrients

      Avocado Pasta
      Ingredients:
       1 ripe medium avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into pieces
       1/4 cup cream / milk
       1/4 salted cheese
       1 tablespoon olive oil
       1 teaspoon butter
       1 tablespoon lime juice
       ½ teaspoon soy sauce
       Ground salt
       Ground black pepper
       Mushrooms
       2 cups uncooked dry pasta, any type

      Preparation:
      1. Boil a large pot of salted water. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain well.
      2. Ground salted cheese
      3. Slice mushrooms and fire well with butter and soy sauce
      4. Sauce: While boiling the pasta, place avocado, cream / milk, olive oil and lime juice in a blender or food processor and blend well. You can leave it chunky or process it until it’s creamy.

      Instructions:
      1. Preheat a pan and put some olive oil in
      2. Put the avocado sauce in to heat it up
      3. Add salted cheese and mushrooms, then stir well
      4. Serve together with the pasta
      5. Season with ground black pepper


    • #73254

      Many Thanks to Bryan’s suggestions and totally agreed on the importance of keeping abreast with most current neurological or educational findings or research that connects to positively influencing teaching or parenting approaches.

      I think it’s good that we make credit to previous research (mentioning a few significant ones) and current ones (could receive greater emphasis), such that there is a longitudinal backup to our work.

      Once again grateful to be in team with our group and moving ahead supporting each other.


    • #72466

      Very thankful reading and gathering more ideas from Bryan, Elizabeth, Ricky, Dr. Turner and LeAnn on the caption topic.

      My first encounter with ADHD students dated back 28 years ago at my first job teaching primary students. There was a boy, whom no matter I talked to him nicely or scored or punished him, he was unable to sit still in class and sometimes even crawl under the table during lessons. At that time I have very limited understanding on ADHD kid, so my conclusion at that stage was he deliberately disrespected me or he was trying to seek attention in class. Later I became a secondary school teacher of a girls school for 4 years while occasionally, noticing not only boys, but some girls fidget in class too. That was still very puzzling to me.

      I gained my greatest breakthrough on understanding on ADHD students when during Eric & Diane’s Brain Expo listened to Dr. Daniel Amen’s talk, where he showed SPECT scan of ADHD cases, that those suffering may have their Pre-frontal Cortex impaired. I realized that fidgeting is a symptom beyond ADHD persons’ control.

      Hence my way of acceptance and how I handled the situation has made a leap turn.
      Adding a link with useful idea on this topic: http://www.healthline.com/symptom/fidgeting

      Will share your ideas with more educators, parents and those with ADHD, thank you!!


    • #72464

      So thankful for Dr. Turner, Lisa, Alicia and LeAnn for your kind sharing with great resources, factors we need to consider and suggested ways on the topic of helping students develop Empathy.

      Truly around the world there are still many people suffering on daily base from poverty, war, natural disastrous and abusive acts that happen in school, work place or even within family context. I strongly believe if more people having greater empathy may help reduce some of these tragic events and sufferings.

      I feel very grateful for learning from Prof. Arthur L. Costa and Dr. Bena Kallick the 16 Habits of Mind, where Listening with understanding and empathy is among one of them.

      While trying to understanding what are some brain areas that may help us develop Empathy, there are more studies that suggest the brain’s mirror neurons and amygdala play important roles in helping children to imitate the good acts of adults or characters and show empathy.
      Here is a link I find very inspiring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLVr4kJRPLI

      Once again, thanks for extending my understanding on this topic!!


    • #72460

      Karan and Lisa, thanks for thoughtfully bringing up this topic related to Finnish teachers’ perspective regarding how “Joy, Flexibility and Autonomy” contribute to empower and support teachers to positively shaping their teaching for students.

      Having worked with a number of schools in Hong Kong and connected with educators/teachers in Singapore, China, Korea and Malaysia. Many of us are struggling with an education system here that is highly competitive, exam-oriented and demands great structure. Since Hong Kong education reform started in 1997 which aims to provide learners, teachers and school administrations with greater autonomy to introduce critical and creative thinking into our curriculum, examination results still play a very critical role shaping our direction forward. Many problems and troubling issues are still unsolved and in the beginning of this academic year, the number of students who committed suicide has increased. Very sad and depressing…..

      Hope that in 2017, we have more opportunities to progressively shifting our system to a better Brain-Mind Compatible one.

      Wishing you both a Specially blessed and wonderful New Year!!


    • #72456

      Jean, I go along with you on the point that Sleep is a critical factor shaping how well our brain, mind, emotions will be as we begin each new day’s adventure!!

      Family members, friends and parents whom I know, including myself have experienced different degree of sleep problems, and in previous years these problems are faced by the younger generations too. Many are unable to fall asleep – may have too many things to worry about, need to remember to do the next day or stay awake with computer/handphones related activities. While asleep are unable to reach deep sleep stage, for some have bad dreams, sleep talk, teethgrinding or wake up in the middle of the night a few times.
      I check on this link to know more about the importance of various sleep cycle:
      http://www.helpguide.org/life/sleeping.htm

      Let’s stay in touch on this important topic, as each day if we can have 6-8 hours of good sleep, a nice fresh start for another day makes lots of Positive Differences!!

      Jean, Wishing you a Very Happy New Year 2017!!


    • #72411

      Right Liana, maintaining good Brain and Body functions as we age is so important for the well-being of everyone. Your recommended link – The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives (www.dana.org) contains rich and resourceful Brain-Health materials for people of all ages.

      I am very grateful for your sharing. Wishing you a Great Year Ahead in 2017.


    • #72410

      Thanks Lisa and I totally agree that music and songs have very strong influence on altering Brain states.

      Currently I come across an area of music which is composed with binaural beats, and there are increasing research or studies that look into its effect in treating depression, anxiety, stress and conditions related to the inability to relax.
      https://www.binauralbeatsmeditation.com/research-binaural-beats-for-depression-anxiety/

      Perhaps we may explore further together in 2017.


    • #72402

      In Hong Kong, we have since 2008 conducted seminars and workshops for learners ranging from primary school level (age 9-11), junior secondary (age 12-14) and senior secondary (age 15-17) using Inquiry approach to invite them list questions they are interested to know about the Brain.

      Gathering from learners listed questions, we find the following topics are frequently asked by most:
      1. how different human brain parts function
      2. what brain regions control our learning, emotion, memory, thinking & behaviour
      3. If any brain areas do not function well or have been injured, what can one do to cope with or improve
      4. how can we build a healthy or better brain

      Then we would progressively use a variety of co-operative learning structures, include visual tools like ppt, video, picture matching materials or hands-on activities, plus reading materials to enable learners discover the Brain-related knowledge and concepts. We find that throughout the process, many children or teenagers gain better understanding of their brain and how they may improve their brain healthy through physical exercises, choice of food, ways of managing own stress or emotions. And they are more likely to make proper changes in their own lifestyle. We feel that the whole journey working with them on this topic has been very encouraging.


    • #72277

      So nice hearing your inspiring idea, Dr. Tuner!

      I will share with more friends and families on your ideas where in coming 2 days – last day of 2016 31 Dec and beginning of 01 Jan 2017 to listen with empathy/supportiveness on challenges their friends/family members have faced or still struggle; then celebrate with each other on any 2016 events that they are happy or successful with, while they may congratulate each other’s achievements and build greater confidence while entering New Year 2017.

      Yes, a new year brings Hope and Positive energy!! Your idea is echoed and I become interested to explore how Goal Setting is good for the Brain, then come across the below resources:

      – Monica Mehta explores the role of brain chemistry in entrepreneurship, and in one of her books she suggested the more times you succeed at something, the longer your brain stores the information that allowed you to do so well in the first place. That’s because with each success, our brain releases a chemical called dopamine. When dopamine flows into the brain’s reward pathway….The key to creating your own cycle of productivity is to set a grand vision and work your way there with a few, achievable goals that increase your likelihood of experiencing a positive outcome.”
      https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225356

      – Nadia Goodman wrote about the Science of Goal Setting and called up Kelly McGonigal (TED Talk: How to make stress your friend), a psychologist at Stanford University, and asked her about the best way to set and accomplish a goal. http://ideas.ted.com/the-science-of-setting-goals/

      Thanks again and wishing you a Wonderful 2017!!


    • #72266

      Thanks Lisa for recommending the article and web-link to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry that strengthens the importance on how Yogic Breathing helps people who encounter depression or anxiety to improve their brain conditions, stating the group who participated in the breathing technique for two months (the yoga group) showed significant improvement in symptoms of depression and anxiety, since they cut its mean Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) score by several points, while the control group showed no improvements.

      Indeed as reported in the CNS Clinic website, the brain utilizes fully 25 percent of the body’s total oxygen consumption. Further, a continuous uninterrupted supply of oxygen to the brain is essential in order to maintain its metabolic functions and to prevent tissue damage. Hence, deep breathing or voluntary abdominal breathing technique (as introduced in Yoga breathing technique) is a very effective way to help children and even adults ensure their brains get quality supply of oxygen to maintain good overall functions.
      (CNS link – http://www.humanneurophysiology.com/cbfo2consumption.htm)

      Another study (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168010204002093) which examined the effects of voluntary abdominal breathing (VAB) using the electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure the brainwaves pattern change as 22 healthy subjects’ brains developed a high-frequency alpha band 4–5 mins after the onset of VAB, thus indicated those who perform VAB has a feeling of vigor-activity with a tendency of reduced anxiety during and/or after VAB, as assessed by POMS and STAI questionnaire scores.

      Recalling as we joined Dr. Eric Jensen’s workshops since 2002, he always encourages teachers to purposefully include “time for learners to take deep breaths” at appropriate intervals of their lessons, may serve to improve learners’ brain health, brain alertness as well as reduce anxiety and depression. And this routine is helpful for myself too.


    • #71347

      Thanks Karan for relating us and parents to rethink how we should avoid using technological gadgets like hand-phones or tablets to engage children in reading and learning, that may lack the social interaction or bonding with adults directly in presence reading books to them.

      When my son was young from infant to 8 years old and I was a high school English Language teacher, I always read story books to him in the evening or weekends, sometimes he even asked me to repeat reading the same story to him because during the reading, whenever any questions about the events of the story he did not understand, or why certain characters have different feelings or relationships like being friendly, or confronting with others, he would ask me to explain to him. I think these are all very precious moments that I share my feelings, thoughts and experiences with him. Further, he especially enjoyed laughing together with me when I acted out some exaggerated expressions of characters to him, like terrifying/shocked/surprised/fascinated facial gestures, or we feel relieved together as the stories end with all characters safely returned home.

      As mentioned in the hyperlinked article, that kids like to or easily imitate parents or adults, one other reason maybe as their brain’s mirror neurons play a special role enabling them to learn or copy adults emotional responses, ways of speaking or behaviour in a rather subtle manner at their early learning development stage. And the bonding between parents/caretakers with children can hardly be replaced by electronic devices.

      Happy to read Karan’s recommended article as a reminder on helping parents and educators to balancing the pros and cons, or deciding to reduce the frequency of letting young children be alone reading from technology tools, while better for parents to devote more opportunities to enjoying the fun of reading together with their children.


    • #71016

      Couldn’t agree more that providing positive and constructive feedback to children/students can be very effective in motivating them to continue to improve on their performance and learning. In fact, even adults crave for their friends, family members or colleagues to acknowledge their effort, input or progress.

      In fact, whenever we hear expressions of praise like “I appreciate your effort”, or “You’ve been working hard and trying different ways to improve, I am proud of you!!”, these already carry the effect of positive rewards and may naturally trigger our brain internal reward system to work – i.e. dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens has been linked to the efficacy of unconditioned rewards, but dopamine release in a broader range of structures is implicated in the ‘stamping-in’ of memory that attaches motivational importance to otherwise neutral environmental stimuli – refer to Nature Reviews Neuroscience 5, 483-494 (June 2004) Dopamine, learning and motivation by Roy A. Wise).

      Hence, my usual approach if firstly acknowledge effort or say what are 2-3 observable good deeds that I noticed from students, then analyze with students what are some other factors that they may have missed, example some students may have made minor mistakes because they have not carefully eliminate careless mistakes, or some may have trouble gathering all important details to solve problems. So working out with students what are the missing pieces of the puzzle that hinder them to do well, then adjust their approaches, they can usually improve their standard or performance. This is very convincing and help them to re-gain confidence to move forward.

      Great we can share more on this topic, Thanks!!


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