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What are the social and emotional needs of the brain?

The brain has three main regions, each with its own social and emotional needs.

Three main regions of the brain

Our brains have three basic parts, each with its own needs.

  • At the base is the brain stem, which regulates bodily activity and awareness. It needs safety and security.
  • Atop the brain stem sits the limbic system, which regulates emotion and memory. It needs emotional honesty and connection.
  • Atop the limbic system sits the cortex, which regulates thought and higher function. It needs learning and intellectual stimulation.

Traditional teaching approaches are top down, focusing on what students know first and how they feel afterward. Research shows, however, that students need to feel safe, secure, and emotionally connected before they can learn much of anything. That’s how social and emotional learning enhances all learning.

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