How’s this for irony — on the same day a North Carolina newspaper quotes an attorney from that state’s Department of Education recommending that teachers never touch a student, NPR runs a story that says:
“A soft touch on the arm makes the orbital frontal cortex light up, just like those other rewarding stimuli,” Hertenstein says. “So, touch is a very powerful rewarding stimulus — just like your chocolate that you find in your cupboard at home.”
The surging of oxytocin makes you feel more trusting and connected. And the cascade of electrical impulses slows your heart and lowers your blood pressure, making you feel less stressed and more soothed. Remarkably, this complex surge of events in the brain and body are all initiated by a simple, supportive touch.
I personally am a fan of a light supportive touch on a student’s shoulder, and have previously written about studies supporting it (see The Power of “Touch” In The Classroom and “Sense of Touch Colors Our View of the World”).
I’ve received some “push-back,” though, in the past from readers of this blog. What are your thoughts on the issue?