Brain Science

Brain Science

The Crisis of Loneliness, and How Schools Help Build Connection and Community

We are excited to announce that we will be curating and synthesizing research relating to our vision of creating equitable communities that center the voices of young people, and where everyone thrives because they know that they matter and belong. This month we are sharing the first article produced by our team at BELONG Partners. We envision that these articles will serve two purposes – share relevant information within our organization that will inform and improve our services and approach, and create accessible articles that provide valuable insights for our education and organizational partners. Relationships Matter: Loneliness is a Public [...]

2023-08-17T21:36:23+00:00August 16, 2023|

How Learning Brain Science is Helpful for Parents, Caregivers, and Kids

Brain science is not just for neuroscientists! How can it help parents and caregivers? Educating yourself and your kids about brain science helps deepen your understanding of behavior and emotions. Everything—from the way humans learn, to the way we engage with each other, to our capacity for thinking, feeling, learning, and problem-solving — all functions through billions of neurons and connections in our brains. Understanding the basics of how the brain works helps demystify human emotions and behavior and gives us some agency in self-regulation and problem-solving. Kids love learning about their brains! They can become scientists of their own [...]

2023-05-03T19:57:25+00:00March 21, 2023|

Self-regulation and Co-regulation are the Keys to More Peace and Fewer Power Struggles

Imagine you are on your way out the door and your 5-year-old is crying on the floor, your 8-year-old is yelling at them to stop crying, and you’re trying to talk over both of them to get them into the car. If this sounds familiar, keep reading! Almost every parent has experienced some rendition of this scene, power struggles and heightened stress levels included. Brain science like that explained in this paper from the Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy tells us that co-regulation between adults and children is an extremely supportive practice, and it can help reduce [...]

2023-05-03T20:31:26+00:00December 7, 2022|

Taming the Brain’s Negativity Bias with Gratitude

Schools -- places chartered to support young people to reach their full human potential -- can instead be places where adults get stuck in negativity bias -- perfectionism, hurt, fear, cynicism. It's our body's default response to stay safe. Our brains are wired to notice danger, threats, and problems. Because of this, we sometimes simply do not see the strengths, beauty, and potential in one another. Let's start by talking about strengths One educator we began working with several years ago was struggling to see the good in her students. In the beginning, she believed Sound Discipline approaches were nonsense. [...]

2021-12-13T10:28:30+00:00December 13, 2021|

What Happened to You?

When I was a kid in the late 1960s and early 70s, I attended St. Rita’s school in a little town called Sierra Madre. The culture was corporal punishment and shame. It wasn’t until 5th grade that I had a teacher who did not use physical violence or terror. None of this seemed unusual. My experience was common. We found ways to navigate and survive. Kids’ stories of themselves and one another were shaped by shame and fear – those stories shaped the course of our lives. My story was that adults could not be trusted. I did not respect [...]

2021-10-12T13:52:12+00:00October 12, 2021|

How Teachers can move from “What is Wrong with You?!” to “What Happened to You?”

We now know that childhood trauma, including ongoing toxic stress, has a profound impact on brain development and behavior. In fact, behaviors teachers see in the classroom that seem to make no sense may actually be a student’s adaptive responses that show a brain’s capacity for prioritizing survival. When we blame the student or take behavior personally, our responses may be hurtful rather than helpful. Over the past 18 months, as the effects of the pandemic have further increased stress and struggle for all families, especially those from marginalized and Brown and Black populations, teachers may see a good deal [...]

2023-05-17T18:26:26+00:00October 11, 2021|

How Parents & Caregivers can move on from “What’s Wrong with Me?”

Our early experiences shape us in profound ways. If those experiences were persistently stressful or traumatic in your early life, you may suffer from the results of adversity, just like millions of other parents and caregivers. Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey teamed up on a new book titled What Happened To You? that illuminates how early adversity affects human beings. Many of us are caught up in blame and shame, and the authors point out that rather than asking, “What is wrong with me?” or “What is wrong with you?” we should shift the question to ask instead, “What [...]

2023-05-17T18:26:25+00:00October 11, 2021|

The COVID One-Year Mark: Let’s not go back

  We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate, and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature. -- Sonya Renee Taylor   The inital planning On March 5 of last year, Sound Discipline's leadership team met to make a COVID contingency plan. A 2-week school closure had just been announced. We drew all over a whiteboard, planning [...]

2021-03-15T18:39:16+00:00March 15, 2021|

Rethinking Rewards: Alternatives to Offering Incentives

Teachers, you have been accomplishing incredible feats this year! It is mind-boggling how your job has changed because of the pandemic and online teaching. Though some of your students are thriving, you may be worried about many who do not seem engaged and who aren’t completing assignments. It is easy to think that rewards may be the answer that you just need to provide the right incentives to get your students to be engaged and completing their work. Despite solid research showing that rewards decrease internal motivation, passion, and interest, the draw to use rewards and incentives is strong. They [...]

2023-05-17T17:54:16+00:00December 10, 2020|

Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity

“Inclusion is not an intellectual thing. It has to be visceral. Words like diversity, equity, inclusion have no meaning at all unless we make it personal, unless we connect these themes to our life story and operationalize them in the actions of our daily lives.” – Jonathan Joseph, Sound Discipline Board of Directors.   Sound Discipline Board commits to an equity curriculum In July, Sound Discipline Board Members Jonathan Joseph and Debbie Symonds worked together to design an equity curriculum for the Sound Discipline Board around a year-long study of the book Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity: The Keys [...]

2020-11-09T16:26:52+00:00November 9, 2020|


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