I am currently holed away in my home office writing papers. Somehow I have 5 (FIVE) papers due this week. I am not a happy camper as I would much rather be sipping on hot coco by the Christmas tree. But alas, instead I am crouched over my netbook writing about the brain. I'm not sure I can put together sentences coherently anymore. SO, if I can't, ignore this post. Perhaps tomorrow my brain will have recovered.
Anyway, as I was writing away I came across some research that I found startling that I want to keep in mind when working with kids.
Research was conducted on how abused and non-abused children detect facial emotions. Children who had a history of abuse were far quicker than the children who had not been abused to detect anger in a picture of someone's face, even if that person simply was not showing emotion. Children who have been abused are quicker to detect anger with less information
*What this indicates to me is that as teachers we need to understand that not all our kids see us in the same way. To some kids our Monday morning "I am SO not excited to be here" faces may be interpreted as hostile, while others simply understand we're still waking up just like them. Not that we have to be fake-chipper all the time, but I think we need to be conscious that some children might perceive us as angry when we're not.*
The research went on to look at how the children's brains reacted when shown an angry face. Children who had a history of abuse showed far more brain activity than children who had not been abused when they looked at angry faces.
*What this says to me is that our children who have experienced abuse are going to be more alert and aware when we're angry. Which isn't a good thing (we can't get angry just to wake them up) but it shows they are not having typical responses to anger and emotion. When a non-abused student is able to calm himself down from an angry-teacher moment quicker children who experienced abuse will most likely experience a more heightened sensory-reaction. Their central nervous system will kick into the fight or flight mode much faster than 'normal' reactions*
*I am drawing these implications based on nothing but my own thinking, which at this moment isn't too strong, take it like the hmmmm.... what if.... pondering I intended.*