3 Steps to Bring Mindfulness Into The Classroom
If there’s one word that’s been more misunderstood than any in recent years, it’s mindfulness.
Depending on the setting and the person, it can mean anything from stress reduction and relaxation to pain management and attention training. And so, whenever anyone goes to talk about it, it’s often first met with a look of confusion and then brushed off as merely one of the latest golden-pill health and wellness trends.
This sentiment, of course, couldn't be further from the truth. As a practice that's centered deepening our awareness and broadening our perception, some form of mindfulness deserves a place in everyone's life. And, therefore, even if it isn't entirely understood by teachers or schools, they can at least recognise the stacking evidence around its benefits and give it a try.
After all, mindfulness is a practice of intuition and feeling over thinking and analysing.
Start teaching mindfulness to your students today, and you’ll soon be seeing improvements across the board, particularly in areas like emotional intelligence, compassion, character, and attention and focus.
Follow our brief guide below, and mindfulness will soon be a familiar practice in your classroom.
1. Mindful planning
It seems like today you can add mindful to any word or phrase and it becomes a practice, but mindful planning is a different matter and has a lot to offer both you and your students.
Much research has been carried out on the power of consciously set intentions and their consequential effects on our daily lives. Teachers can harness this power, for example, by taking five minutes before a lesson to ask themselves what their intention is. It may be something like, “To leave anything that's bothering me at the door and ensure the class goes away with a clear understanding of X, Y, and Z.
It sounds so simple that we're all too quick to dismiss it. But once you try it you’ll notice how much lessons differ from those where no intentions were set, in which you go through the class with a stressed and scattered mindset and are led astray by anything that comes up.
2. Mindful Moments
Like mindful planning, mindful moments are like pressing pause on the constant stream of activities by consciously gathering your attention all in one place: now. It’s only when we do this we see how distracted we’ve been, and thus can begin to come back to the present and balance our state of mind.
But taking a mindful moment in class doesn’t mean hush-hush and forced stillness; mindfulness is all about noticing where your attention is, and so you make a mindful moment interactive by getting students to notice things and comment on what they discover.
Start by taking a few long, deep breaths as a class and asking your students to pay attention to the subtle sensations of breathing. What words can they use to describe the feeling of the breath?
What thoughts are arising and where are they coming from? If this proves too difficult, you can also use meditation objects like a candle flame or the branches of trees swaying in the wind.
3. Mindfulness in the home
Mindfulness is not a stand-alone practice that should only be reserved for the classroom or twenty minutes of sitting still in the morning. It will, once you begin teaching it to students, naturally flow into other areas of their life, but for it to truly take effect, it must be brought directly into the home too.
You could leave it up to your students to one day tell their mum to watch their breath while they're upset, but better to officially inform them so they know mindfulness is a part of the school’s agenda. A holistic approach is what’s needed for the practice to stick, for school culture to transform, and for its effects to accumulate and show lasting improvements in their learning and lives.
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