Archive for RESEARCH

Creating Trauma Informed Instruction-Schools The Heart of Teaching and Learning

A Presentation by Dr. Lori Desautels- Marian University

trauma and brain powerpointPreview: Schools as Ecological Systems

Students who attend school from kindergarten through secondary school typically spend more than 13,000 hours of their developing brain’s time in the presence of teachers.

Their brains are highly susceptible to environmental influences – social, physical, cognitive, and emotional. And, more important, their brains will be altered by the experiences they have in school.

(Eric Jensen, Teaching With the Brain in Mind, 2nd Edition, 2005)

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How the Brain Works, Mindfulness and Meditation Pt. 2

In this episode we discuss How the Brain Works in regards to educational neuroscience with Dr. Lori Desautels of Marian University.  If you want to better understand the reasons behind student behavior and motivation while learning how to start training student’s brains to focus this episode is for you.

Reach out to Dr. Desautels on Twitter @Desautels_Phd





In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • What a Brain Break is and why you should use them
  • How to validate emotional responses with students
  • How our role as educators has changed in the 21st century

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Listen to Lori Live! WZPL 99.5 Thursday March 1st, 7:30am

Listen in live to Lori Desautels discuss “How May I Serve You. Revelations in Education”
WZPL 99.5
Thursday, March 1st, 7:30 am


Had a great conversation with Dave Smiley, KJ, Producer Will and Toni on “The Bullying Show” Link to the radio show is below!  Recorded on March 1 2012!






New Power Points on Mind Brain Education

Click image or links below to download powerpoints.

Brain Compatible Learning>
Brain Based Teaching and Learning>


A Response to the Chinese Tiger Mother: Children Need a Balanced Approach

Original article posted on Inside The School, January 24th, 2011 By: Lori Desautels, Ph.D.

Editor’s note: In early January, the Wall Street Journal published a Saturday essay from Yale law professor and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Chua’s essay advocates a Chinese approach to parenting, which is beyond the definition of strict for Western mothers. Click here to read Chua’s essay.

I suggested that Lori L Desautels, Ph.D., School of Education, Marian University, author of How May I Serve You, A Revelation in Education, offer a response to Chua’s essay, based on Desautels’ work.

Mother-daughter shopping trip“The Chinese Tiger Mother”- who is she and what are the sources, the origins of her parenting values and behaviors? So many thoughts about this, but one that runs succinctly throughout the reading of this article, a thought of “fear.” Initially I felt hot raw anger at this woman who shares my profession of parenting. The emotions began to stew and brew with no preconceived notions. And then I stopped in the midst of these steamy emotions and said out loud, “When we judge another’s experience, we forget, forfeiting to step inside the shoes of another and walk around for awhile feeling their texture, their plasticity or lack thereof, wondering or pondering the history of the wearer of the shoes!” When I stepped in her shoes, I was struck with deep fear. I felt fear of believing her own upbringing could have been less than adequate, fear of the type of parent she was or desired to be, but mostly, a deep fear of change!

I did not experience this mother’s upbringing, nor did I experience her culture or how her beliefs became a part of her day to day life. So as I continued to read and reread this article with flashes of anger and disillusionment, I remembered compassion and what that means or how it plays out in this diversified world today. Gathering research and discovering new knowledge is what I do for a living, teaching in higher education. There have been research studies conducted on the heightened stress levels of adolescents who text from their cell phones hundreds of times every day. Eric Jensen reports that the prevalence of children with a chronic or acute stress disorder is 18-20%.[1] The largest group of stress disordered victims is school-age children. Jensen explains, “Stress is a physiological response to a perspective. The perspective originates from a feeling of lack of control over a situation or environment. When this state occurs, a hyper secretion of cortisol, a stress related hormone takes place when the body experiences stress.” [2] It is known among neuroscientists and now educators, that the memory and mental clarity required in learning new concepts, is greatly affected and declines when stress is present and activated in a child or adolescent’s body.

mother and child at playAlthough the math and science scores are lower in the United States than in many Asian countries, a recent international study reported that “Chinese children as young as six are suffering from serious stress at school, according to the international study, which shines a light onto the pressures faced by Chinese youngsters being pushed to take advantage of the opportunities of the ‘new’ China.

“A scientific survey of 9 to 12-year-olds in eastern China found that more than 80 percent worried “a lot” about exams, two-thirds feared punishment by their teachers and almost three-quarters reported fearing physical punishment from their parents.”[3]

There is always a trade off and balancing mechanism in place when we consciously or subconsciously move to one extreme or the other in any area of life. When we push our children and students to strive academically neglecting the emotional intelligence of self-awareness, empathy and social connectedness, there are often times negative consequences within the social and emotional constructs of social and emotional growth. And if we do not set high expectations and place rigor and meaningful content and differentiated instruction into our curriculum, we may see apathetic students who do not embrace the importance and significance of educational learning, expansion and inquiry!

girl and her mother eating a picnic lunchSo I return to the behaviors of this Chinese woman and mother, and I wonder about the long-term effects, or maybe not-too-long-term effects of her children’s holistic development as she chooses to exclude the social, imaginative, and emotional development of her children? Human beings are social mammals, and we begin to diminish and withdraw without the relational learning that is required for holistic health and well-being. We thrive on relationships and the playfulness of school plays, sleep overs, joyful exploration and most of all sitting with questions! The brain is wired in this time for curiosity and play, seeking relevancy and meaning inside the activities and relationships of our lives.

Practice and more practice does make permanent, but it does not create critical thinking skills and creative problem solving that carry us through life experiences and relationship dilemmas, teaching our children and adolescents about empathy, reaching out to those so very different with a deepened understanding. The electromagnetic field of the heart is 60 or more times greater than that of the brain, reported by the Heartmath Institute, and it is here, inside the brain of the heart where living life is embraced; not with perfection but with satisfaction in the process of discovering life. [4] Failures and mistakes keep us pushing forward with enthusiasm as science has clearly demonstrated through the years, and if we hold the perspective of failures being our greatest learning tools, we cannot help but be and feel successful in all areas of our lives.


[1] Jensen, Eric. Different Brains, Different Learners.  Corwin Press, (revised ed)  2009
[2] Jensen, Eric.
[3] Foster, Peter. “Third of Chinese primary school children suffer stress, study finds.” The Telegraph, January 19, 2010.  Accessed January 18, 2011.
[4] “The Resonant Heart–A Deep Secret of Peacemaking, ” last modified 2007,

Lori Desautels, Ph.D., is a university supervisor for the Indianapolis Teaching Fellows and Teach for America programs. She is an instructor at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at Marian University in Indianapolis.  Before coming to Marian University, Lori taught emotionally handicapped students in the upper elementary grades, worked as a school counselor in Wayne Township, was a private practice counselor through the Indianapolis Counseling Center, and was a behavioral consultant for Methodist Hospital in the adolescent psychiatric unit. She graduated from Butler University with a BS in Special Education, from Indiana University with an MS in counseling, and earned her Ph.D. from The American Institute of Holistic Theology with an emphasis in early adolescence in thought formation. Desaultes’ website is at


Find Your Inner Teacher

Below is an excerpt from an article in Pathways, Summer 2010, Volume 15, Number 2.  Download entire Pathways article.

Find Your Inner Teacher

Next to the parents, a heart-inspired teacher is the most important thing for children. Pun intended.
Working with students of all ages, Lori Desautels, Ph.D., has honed the skills of teaching from the heart for more than 25 years. She has helped young people rise above a host of obstacles—environmental, physical and mental health challenges— and to shine. She now brings these special skills to “teach the teachers” in three university programs.

As the mother of two teenagers and a preteen, naturally she has gained a nourishing pantry of “kitchen table wisdom” as well. Lori has seen her own children’s minds evolve and spirits dance, when given the attention of mindful, caring teachers. “People of all ages know when you are listening, intuitively, for what they may need as well as what they say. They know if you’re fully present, in the moment with them. And we all learn more deeply from the safe space of feeling understood. We all want kinship.”

She adds that during middle school years—which is part of her own teaching experience—there’s a conflicted continuumof childhood, adolescence and maturity. “Suddenly, peers’ opinions may take on greater significance than anyone’s, which is ironic in that they’re all bubbling in the same hormonal stew. Especially if there’s a troubling ongoing situation, it’s essential that students not feel judged. At this age, kids gain exponentially from hearing reflective observations and ideas regarding options rather than pat answers; then they can shift from a victim mentality by gaining a greater sense of personal responsibility.”

Lori says her AIHT dissertation research is how she discovered a new educational calling. “I wanted to embrace academic science and spirituality together, and our school principal was supportive. During 40-minute classes for 14 weeks, two groups of students interacted on topics such as: 1. Thoughts are energy, and our thoughts present us with opportunities to act in positive or negative ways; 2. In scientific research, positive thoughts are more than 100 times more powerful than negative thoughts; 3. By choosing to shift our thoughts, students and teachers have the ability to shift many outcomes too. In these classes and subsequent groups, school attendance and GPA improved!”

Encouraged to share her findings with the Dean of Education at Marian University, Lori soon joined the Indianapolis Teaching Fellows as a graduate mentor/supervisor. She also oversees needs assessments within a transitional graduate program, Teach for America, and is an undergraduate instructor.
Her upcoming book is entitled How May I Serve You? A Revelation in Education. Through anecdotes and archetypal mythology, its message for future teachers is to bring esoteric intuitive skills into the mainstream classroom, to “Find your inner teacher.”

In its prologue, Lori writes: “In this new paradigm I encourage you to explore your own perspectives, to see how rigid or pliable they feel. The contrast provided by opposing events or circumstances is the gift IF we choose to experience it that way… if we have the eyes to see and the imagination to delve into the active life of teaching and learning.”

Image Caption: “Ferris Wheel,” a poem by Lori Desautels, Ph.D., was chosen for Illuminations: Expressions of the Personal Spiritual Experience. Also featured among its 180-plus contributors from 43 countries are interviews with metaphysicians Marianne Williamson and Rev. Desmond Tutu, and creativity innovator Julia Cameron.



Heart of Learning

2007-2008 Research and Study Group Presentation



Please visit the website and services provided by Dyslexia Institute of Indiana

Rosie Hickle Executive Director,

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Hello world! Welcome to my site.

Welcome to How May I Serve You: A Revelation In Education.

It is my intention to continue to share educational content, thoughts, teaching experiences, life experiences and writing passages with one another through this site. How May I Serve You, A Revelation in Education is a book I have been writing for the past two years. An excerpt from the manuscript is posted on the website under “The Book”. I am hopeful that a completed story will be in our hands in the next few months!

I am eager for you to share your writing thoughts and ideas on this interactive web site as I desire this site  to be a learning and teaching tool for all of us. It is under construction and there will be new content added much of the time. Please share with those that you feel would enjoy, benefit or use this space for reflection reading and learning.

Thank you so much.


Marian University is creating opportunities at every corner to make positive changes within the schools around Indiana. Dr Hill is an innovative and creative visionary who listens to both his head and heart. Please enjoy the following links as we move to greater school and teacher performances

IDOE Selects Partner for Turnaround Leadership Academy – Indiana Department of Education Press Release
State Selects Marian to Train Turnaround Leaders – Indianapolis Business Journal, July 14, 2010 

The Heart and Brain of the Matter Keynote: ISTA Early Educators Conference. Part 1.
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A message from the Authors of Unwritten, The Story of a Living System

Mark your calendars and come learn with us!
  • Pike Township- August 24, 2016
  • Indianapolis Youth Orchestra- August 20, and September 8
  • Pike Township- September 12
  • Dubai Educators come to Indianapolis- September 12
  • Indianapolis Children's Museum- September 22
  • Indianapolis Yoga Instructors- September 24
  • Manchester College- October 11
  • Rowan University, Southern New Jersey- October 21
  • Kappa Delta Pi- Webinar series-November 2
“This book is a refreshing look at our philosophy of education and a reminder of what is most important in teaching."

Lori Desautels on linkedinLori Desautels on facebookLaurie Desautels on twitter