Latin School of Chicago

Latin Magazine Fall 2014: Wellness Matters

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Page 26 of 59

are not just messy toddlers in a china shop, running around breaking and obscuring delicate cognitive glassware. Instead, they are more like the shelves underlying the glassware; without them, cognition has less support," wrote Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, an assistant professor of education at the University of Southern California's Rossier School and one of the country's most innovative thinkers about learning and the brain. According to Immordino-Yang, who spoke to faculty at Latin last winter as part of the recently established Bucksbaum Scholars Series, advances in neuroscience are highlighting connections between emotional and cognitive functioning and decision-making. Her research enriches a conversation that has been going on at Latin for more than a decade about how important it is for educators to learn about current brain research. It also supports the conclusion that students can only be their best selves in the classroom if their social and emotional needs are being met. is is something that counselors and learning resources teachers at Latin can confirm from their daily experience with students. "By the time you are an adolescent and you have a diagnosed learning difference, there is usually a social-emotional component that comes with it," said recently retired middle school learning resources teacher Jane Donovan. Anxiety, frustration and low self-esteem are feelings that often accompany struggles in the classroom. On the other hand, "Students who are not diagnosed with learning differences can shut down academically as a result of something else that is going on in their lives," said Donovan, adding that she relied heavily on close communication with middle school counselor Pam Buchanan Miller during her 25-year tenure. Because of this kind of symbiotic relationship, Latin's learning resources and counseling staff are looking to a future where they, and the school nurses who frequently also are part of the equation, will belong to a comprehensive JK-12 support services department. A continuity between divisions and the team approach, they feel, are critical to serving students and families. the Brain's the THING 25 L AT I N S C H O O L O F C H I C A G O "When students have something on their mind, they can't focus on the academics. ey can't focus on the teacher when their mind is consumed with worries." — Sarah Everson, lower school counselor "Emotions

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