U CALM

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

Description

U CALM” (Ulster university Civic role in mentAL health stress regulation in our coMmunity). A project proposal evaluating learning efficiency in the classroom through physiological mechanisms that enhance attention, preparedness and readiness

Subject

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a division of the peripheral nervous system that controls automated body functions (Merz et al 2015).  The ANS is subdivided into parasympathetic (PSNS) and sympathetic (SNS) components.  In general, the PSNS predominates during calmness and rest by slowing heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and promoting digestion. Antagonistically the SNS is responsible for launching responses to physical and psychological stimuli, enabling a fight or flight arousal state manifesting as elevated heart rate and blood pressure (Merz et al 2015).  ANS regulation has been well-studied as an individual difference variable in the prediction of behavioural outcomes, indeed research has reported that one’s willingness and ability to receive teaching and to develop new skills or attitudes is enhanced when ANS regulated (Gower et al., 2011). 

Any consideration of one’s readiness to learn must recognise that a variety of factors are involved and that they are intricately interrelated.  For example, a lack of energy can be associated with poor health and physical wellbeing and be the cause of distraction and competition to concentration.  ANS regulation refers to the capacity to regulate arousal states and respond in a proportionate and flexible manner (Bhreathnach 2015). Autonomic dysfunction is defined as an impaired or improper autonomic responsiveness to challenge and is correlated with exposure to ANS stressors.  Indeed, combating the PSNS/SNS imbalance of the ANS and the use of physiological exercises to therapeutically target stress management has previously been researched by the Author (Breen 2017, Breen and Breathnach 2017).  This is a research proposal to build on this previous disseminated work, to explore secondary school learner’s attention, preparedness and readiness for learning in the classroom.

Period8 Mar 2019

Media coverage

1

Media coverage

  • TitleU CALM
    Degree of recognitionRegional
    Media name/outletThe Cross Examiner
    Media typePrint
    CountryNorthern Ireland
    Date8/03/19
    DescriptionDr Cathal Breen (Ulster University Clinical Scientist (Cardiology) and Lecturer of Healthcare Science and Physiology) and Mrs Eimear Donnelly (MEd) Teacher of Geography at St Joseph’s High School Crossmaglen have developed “U CALM” (Ulster university Civic role in mentAL health stress regulation in our coMmunity) a project which aims to evaluate learning efficiency in the classroom through physiological mechanisms that enhance attention, preparedness and readiness. 33 Year 11 pupils participated within a research informed workshop enabling their awareness of self-regulation; they were taught how to identify their reaction to stress and how to self regulate and recover from feeling overwhelmed. This was achieved by exercise activities aimed at vestibular regulation and methods to enhance relaxation and calmness using Havening Technique led by Mr David Small (Counsellor in St. Joseph's High School). U CALM has successfully been commissioned through a competitive funding allocation from the Widening Access and Participation Department of Ulster University aligning to its civic engagement strategy and will support current Well Being services in St. Joseph's High School Crossmaglen.
    PersonsCathal Breen