Speaker Series on Education: Emotions, Learning and the Brain – a Public Lecture on February 1 at Cabrillo College

2017 Speaker Series on Education presented by Gateway School, Mount Madonna School, York School and Cabrillo College featuring Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D.

Social emotions like admiration and compassion shape how we think and act, who we become, and how we experience our own lives. According to author and neurobiologist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D., studies of these emotions’ neurobiological underpinnings also reveal important insights about the nature of deep learning and how social experience shapes intellectual development.

Immordino-Yang will address “Emotions, Learning and the Brain: What Educators Need to Know About the Power of Feelings” for the upcoming 2017 Speaker Series on Education at Cabrillo College’s Crocker Theater. The free, public lecture will take place on Wednesday, February 1 at 7:00pm; space is limited and reservations should be made in advance at http://tinyurl.com/MaryHelenImmordinoYang

Now in its fifth year, the annual speaker series is a community resource co-presented by Gateway, Mount Madonna, and York – local California Association of Independent School accredited schools – in partnership with Cabrillo College.

“We share a belief in the power of education to change lives, and one of the most important things that schools can do is to continually pursue professional growth and model lifelong learning,” commented Chuck Harmon, York’s head of school. “The four schools also have a shared commitment to the local community, and we want to create opportunities for our friends and neighbors to be a part of the adventure of learning.”

In her work, Immordino-Yang examines the connection of emotional feelings to memory, cultural learning and the development of interests and expertise.

“Dr. Immordino-Yang brings a decade of practical experience as a public school teacher together with her current neuroscience research,” commented Mount Madonna’s Head of School, Mary Supriya McDonald. “She connects the fields of neurobiology, psychology and sociology with an exploration and understanding of the evolution of our brains and emotions, and suggests ways we can use that science to enhance our educational methods and technologies.”

Immordino-Yang’s research underscores the fundamental interdependence of emotion and cognition, and the necessity of understanding students’ humanity to optimally support their academic excellence.

“Mary-Helen helps us to understand how we interpret the world through our senses, and reframes our thinking about our emotional lives,” shared Gateway’s Head of School, Dr. Zaq Roberts ”Her findings have profound implications for how parents and educators think about the role of emotions and the body in the development of a child’s intellectual and social growth. Finding research that is valid and reliable when discussing the importance of physical activity, mindfulness, and other recent innovations in the educational domain represents a major step in supporting evidence-based approaches to best practices in parenting and classroom instruction.”

Cabrillo College is located at 6500 Soquel Drive in Aptos. General parking is available in the Cabrillo self-pay parking lots. Pay stations accept cash or credit card.

Additional Information on Mary Helen Immordino-Yang

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang is a social-affective neuroscientist and human development psychologist who studies social emotion and self-awareness across cultures, connections to cognition, resilience and morality, and implications for education. She is Associate Professor of Education, Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Southern California. A former public junior-high-school science teacher, she earned her doctorate at Harvard University. She holds a National Science Foundation CAREER award and is serving on the NAS committee writing How People Learn II. In 2015-2016 she was chosen as one of 30 scholars to participate in the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Knowledge Forum initiative. She has received numerous national awards, including the PNAS Cozzarelli Prize, a U.S. ARMY honor coin, a commendation from the County of Los Angeles, and early career achievement awards from the APS, AERA, AAAS and FABBS. She is the inaugural recipient of the International Mind, Brain and Education Society (IMBES) award for Transforming Education through Neuroscience, and was elected 2016-2018 IMBES president.


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Nestled among the redwoods on 355 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a community of learners dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville