Healthy Brain Approach to Increase students’ well-being

The corona-crisis affects us all. As VU lecturers and study-advisors, but also as parents, we clearly see the psychological impact on our students. Research also shows an increased prevalence of loneliness and depression amongst students. What can you do as a teacher to really reach students? How can you reach out to students in a way that is safe? Can you hand out exercises to your students for which there is scientific evidence of a positive effect on psychological well-being?

Dr. Hylke Vervaeke, lecturer neurobiology at the Beta Faculty, VU [department Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR)] and Amsterdam University College (AUC) developed a lecture series ‘Healthy Brain’ with assignments. You can check out the lecture series on the VU NT&L channel. On January of this year Hylke Vervaeke also held an online workshop about the Healthy Brain Approach at the VU Education Lab. You can find the recording of the workshop on the VU NT&L channel.

The reactions of Hylkes students are (extremely) positive in more than 90% of the cases. They feel ‘seen’ and involved:

  • ‘I also want to point out that the healthy brain assignments are amazing. I think it helped at least some of us improve our mental state and I want to give special thanks for this :)‘
  • ‘Question hours with Hylke and the bonus assignment were also nice to keep in mind the importance of our mental health’
  • ‘I just wanted to thank you for these exercises. It is rare to find someone who asks you once in a while how you are doing, and I think it is really valuable. I can say from my part that I really needed something like this. These times have not been easy, and it is very nice that a teacher actually acknowledges that. So, thank you very much’