Impact of Mindfulness Teaching in the Classroom

What is Mindfulness and when did it start?

1.   

Mindfulness can be defined as “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment”

2.   

Rooted in Buddhist meditation

3.   

Mindfulness practice has a history in both religious and secular tradition

4.   

Hinduism and Buddhism are given history for the origins of mindfulness

5.   

Individuals have been practicing mindfulness for thousands of years

6.   

Jon Kabat-Zinn has brought mindfulness to American culture through his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program

7.   

Kabat-Zinn took a scientific approach to mindfulness and integrated into medical treatment of psychological disorders

 

What does it look like in everyday life?

1.   

Jon Kabat-Zinn has given these practical steps of practicing mindfulness everyday

a.   

Pay attention to your breathing

b.   

Notice sights, sounds, and smells at a given moment

c.    

Remind yourself that thoughts and emotions are fleeting

d.   

Focus on bodily sensations- such as how your body feels in a chair

2.   

Mindfulness does not need to be a formal practice, rather a life style that focuses on being aware of stimuli in the world

 

How does mindfulness impact students?

1.   

Mindfulness helps students with attention

a.   

Through activities that focus on clearing the mind of distracting thoughts, and bringing focus to the surrounding environment, students are able to focus their attention on school work

2.   

Mindfulness can create calmness in the classroom

a.   

Activities such as intentional quiet time gives the students time to reflect on their emotions and center their mind to a calm place

3.   

Mindfulness helps students manage stress

a.   

By teaching breathing exercises to students who experience stress, the student has the tools to self soothe and cope with unpleasant emotions

 

What is the impact on academic achievement?

1.   

A study was completed in British Columbia focused on 99 4th and 5th graders

2.   

These students were part of mindfulness classrooms. These students meditated three times a day, while also focusing on gratitude and kindness

3.   

The results on academic performance:

a.   

15% better math scores

b.   

24% more social behaviors

c.    

24% less aggressive

d.   

20% perceived themselves as more pro-social

 

What mindfulness activities can I do in my classroom?

1.   

Mindfulness through breath

a.   

Have students place a hand on their chest and a hand on their stomachs. Have students focus on how it feels to breath with their hands in place. Next, have students try to breathe in as deep as possible and hold for a count of three, then breathe out. After completing the exercise speak to the students about how they felt and when they might want to practice this breathing.

2.   

Mindfulness through sensory experiences

a.   

Have children use physical objects to center their minds. Take the students outside to interact with nature. Create a smell jar, filled with spices or herbs the students can use to focus on how the smell makes them feel. Give students an opportunity to play with clay to create a tactile experience and calm the mind.

3.   

Mindfulness through guided imagery

a.   

Have students close their eyes as you walk them through an “adventure”. Give descriptive imagery to give students a time to use their imagination to stay quiet and focus on their breathing.

4.   

Mindfulness through movement

a.   

Allow time for students to focus on their breathing through physical movement. Yoga can be used in the classroom to allow students time to get out of their seats and focus on their emotions. Positions such as “downward- facing dog” or “tree pose” stretch the students’ bodies and require them to focus on their breathing and the surrounding environment.

All of these activities were taken from the following resource: “Integrating Mindfulness in Your Classroom Curriculum”

 

 

Works Cited:

 

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/mindfulness/definition

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/history-of-mindfulness/

https://childmind.org/article/mindfulness-in-the-classroom/

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/08/mindfulness-education-schools-meditation/402469/

http://time.com/3682311/mindfulness-math/

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/integrating-mindfulness-in-classroom-curriculum-giselle-shardlow