Stress can be a real impediment to learning. Learn about advances in neuroscience and get some tips to help your child at school and at home.
Teenagers today have many reasons to feel stress in school. If it isn’t enough to be concerned about climate change, social/political issues, and pandemics, they are also worried about how to perform well in school and navigate their future in college and life. This level of stress can be a real impediment to learning.
The good news is that groundbreaking research could become a game-changer for students. Education is undergoing a paradigm shift as research points the way for schools, both public and private, to better address both stress and anxiety.
Learn about how neurofeedback works and get some specific tips for school and at home.
To explore some exciting advances, let’s take a look at the BrainCo FocusCalm Neurofeedback Study.
BrainCo, is a lab derived from the Harvard Innovation Lab in Boston, Massachusetts, where they have developed an app to make neurofeedback more accessible to the public. Max Newlon, the President of Brain Co, holds an Ed.M. From Harvard University and has spent years discovering how brain training and their new product FocusCalm positively impacts social-emotional learning and wellness outcomes.
This research is actually being applied at Memorial Private School, where students use FocusCalm. The training is intended to make the mind calmer and more focused. Every day, for just 15 minutes, students use a brain-sensing headband and app called FocusCalm. The training program uses guided meditations, neurofeedback, and brain games to train users to reduce their stress and improve their executive function skills.
Executive function skills, like working memory, sustained attention, decision making, and pattern recognition are all a part of this process. To maximize learning and performance, the mind needs to be in a calm and focused state. As a result, this brain training has direct results during class and homework assignments.
In a news interview, Lucy Grace Camp, an alumnae of Memorial Private High School, was featured on Channel 26 in 2021. The reporter asked questions about the benefits and methods of FocusCalm. As a student at Harvard and as a Neuroeducation Strategist, Lucy believes FocusCalm has “so much potential in schools to cultivate an aura of curiosity and growth mindset.”
How Does Neurofeedback Work?
In case you are unfamiliar with neurofeedback and how it works, it basically teaches self-control by measuring brain waves and providing feedback. More scientifically, Dr. Stoler in Psychology Today, addresses this very question. “How does neurofeedback work? It gives needed feedback in the method that the brain understands through the external/internal interfaces to help the brain heal and regulate itself through neuroplasticity.”
To pinpoint more specifically just how the FocusCalm pilot program at Memorial Private School has been implemented, here is a brief synopsis about FocusCalm.
“FocusCalm is a wearable EEG headband that uses neurofeedback to train your brain for low-stress productivity. As you do games and exercises in the app, a sensor on your forehead picks up small fluctuations in the electrical activity of your brain. The more you relax, the higher your score goes.
Just like a workout that helps you get stronger over time, FocusCalm’s neurofeedback trains your brain to move easily, quickly and consistently, keeping your brain’s stress activity low, even when you’re not wearing or using a headband.”
The three basic tenets of FocusCalm involve learning how to control one’s mindset, practicing the ability to change scores on the app, and challenging oneself to face challenges.
Does Neurofeedback Really Work?
As cited by the Center for Brain Training (centerforbrain.com), “the success rate commonly quoted by clinicians and in published scientific research for neurofeedback for certain conditions is 75-80-%.” Of course, ongoing and additional research needs to be conducted to more accurately understand efficacy rates, but the future looks bright.
In fact, Max Newlon from Brain Co is excited about the world-class brain training work they have completed with Formula 1 race car drivers, a training that helps them maximize performance while under intense pressure. The FocusCalm team also currently works with Olympic teams around the world, corporate wellness programs, and individuals looking to train their brains to be more focused.
The expansion into the education sector marks a tremendous opportunity to help children and teenagers deal with stress, increase their focus, as well as improve social-emotional learning and wellness outcomes.
Neurofeedback Methods Reduce Stress in School
If we want our children to steer clear from the world of drugs and other escapes, it is critical to give them methods that will help them lower stress, stay calm and focused, and increase their productivity in school. Neurofeedback methods are non-invasive, drug-free, and safe. They provide ways to help your child or teenager learn how to self-regulate by reinforcing the positive.
Innovative private schools, like Memorial Private School, that are willing to test out research-based products will have a distinct advantage in providing students with ways to do well in school.
These acquired methods will help students feel and perform better, not only in middle and high school, but later in college and throughout their lives. Students will learn how to develop a growth mindset, and enjoy learning in a more relaxed and calm manner. This all makes a remarkable difference as they address the complexities of school, college, and career later in life.
Tips for Reducing Stress
If you are a parent, you want your child to enjoy their childhood and teenage years. Here are 5 tips that can make a difference at home and at school.
1. Seek out a private school that has a specific emphasis on ways to lower stress (e.g. FocusCalm, yoga, small classes, strong support). As noted previously, some private independent schools are on the leading edge. They offer innovative approaches to lower stress and improve performance in elementary, middle school, and high school.
2. If a private school with these tools is unavailable in your area, research and consult with experts on various products and services on the market that offer neurofeedback. If your child is showing signs of stress or has trouble regulating moods and emotions, it is critical to address the issue early.
3. Create a balanced lifestyle with plenty of fresh air, outdoor activity, and good nutrition. Children and teens all need to connect with nature and jumpstart endorphins to perform at their best. Look for ways to incorporate these habits into daily life, as well as private schools that offer the same.
4 Provide a structured daily schedule so your child has levels of predictability and consistency. Research has shown that following a daily schedule has an actual impact on stress and anxiety reduction. Most independent schools follow a specific daily schedule and this provides the necessary structure to experience a more balanced day between academics and extracurricular activities.
5. Allow your child to develop their own internal mindset, one that will jump start everything they do and want to achieve. This is why a simple app like FocusCalm can make a difference if used correctly. Help your child create a mindset, along with some personal goals.
Families today have more private school choices than ever before to help their children reduce stress and anxiety. Research studies in the dynamic field of neurofeedback are paving the way to new products and services that will be accessible to everyone.. This will have a tremendous impact on education. Families now have a chance to bring these new discoveries into their homes, as well as seek out private schools employing these new methodologies.
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