The students are also learning about the structures of the brain involved in learning and self-regulation.
The “upstairs brain” is the Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC) that is in charge of executive functioning (e.g., organization, rational thought, emotional regulation, problem-solving, focusing attention, planning, prioritizing, etc.). This is the area of the brain where learning occurs and we can think clearly to analyze our options and make the best choices.
The “downstairs brain” is the limbic system, including the amygdala. The amygdala is an information filter regulated by our emotional state. This is the area of the brain that is feeling and reactive not analytical.
When we’re calm and peaceful (Mindful Brain), the amygdala (“filter”) is wide open and information flows to the PFC, where the executive functions take place on the information and a response is generated.