In a classic study, scientists put two rats in a cage, each
of them locked in a running wheel. The first rat could
exercise whenever he liked. The second was yoked to the
first and forced to run when his counterpart did.
Exercise usually reduces stress and encourages neuron
growth, and indeed, the first rat's brain bloomed with new
cells. The second rat, however, lost brain cells. He was
doing something that should have been good for his brain,
but he lacked one crucial factor: control. He could not
determine his own "workout" schedule, so he didn’t perceive
it as exercise. Instead, he experienced it as a literal rat
This experiment brings up a troubling point about stress.
Psychologists have known for years that one of the biggest
factors in how we process stressful events is how much
control we have over our lives. As a rule, if we feel we're
in control, we cope. If we don’t, we collapse.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Why Choice is Important
I found this in an email sent to me by Marvin Marshall who is the author of Discipline Without Stress, a book which lays out the system of classroom discipline that I adapted for kindergarten at Dunham.