The Neuro Education Initiative Summit at Johns Hopkins University brings together Neuroscientists and Educators to present contemporary research in brain science and how it affects educational functions.
The article reviewing the entire summit is here: Dana Foundation Report.
There were a number of topics, but the one I was most interested in was the affects of Integrated Brain-Mind Training (IMBT) on human health. The IBMT utilizes specific meditation, relaxation and concentration training.
Using brain imaging as their primary source of research, the researchers were able to discover the functions of the brain that were changing and how through the specific meditation training. What their reporting found was that:
After 5 days of training, the IBMT group showed significantly greater improvement of performance in executive attention and positive mood, significantly reduced stress as measured by cortisol secretion following a stressful experience, and increased immunoreactivity compared to participants with the same amount of relaxation training.
While there are numerous articles exemplifying the use of meditation and relaxation techniques in schools to help performance, what is refreshing about this research is that it specifically focuses on teaching meditation as a tool to influence an education environment. It would be easy to develop practices in traditional school environments that reflect this contemporary research and help reduce stress in children and teachers, too.