Friday, February 27, 2015

Mindfulness in the Classroom


What is mindfulness?

The conscious and purposeful way of tuning in to what is happening around you right now. The meaningful act of paying attention and honing awareness of your environment.

Why be mindful?

Benefits of Mindfulness For Teachers:

o   Improves focus and awareness
o   Increases responsiveness to student’s needs
o   Promotes emotional balance
o   Supports Stress management and reduction
o   Supports healthy relationships at work and at home
o   Enhances classroom climate
o   Supports overall well-being

Benefits of Mindfulness For Students:

o   Supports “readiness to learn”
o   Promotes academic performance
o   Strengthens Attention and concentration
o   Reduces test anxiety
o   Promotes self-reflection and self-calming
o   Improves classroom participation by supporting impulse control
o   Provides tools to reduce stress
o   Enhances social and emotional learning
o   Fosters pro-social behaviors and healthy relationships
o   Supports holistic well-being

How can it done and or improved?

  •                 Decide to do it
  •                 Carve out some time in your day. Start with 5 minutes.
  •                 Choose a mindful activity that you can realistically do
  •                 Practice
Methods of Developing Mindful Awareness For Yourself

Meditation
                Sitting still.  Pay closer attention to yourself. When was the last time you were able to just sit still? Pop Culture has been designed to seduce us into searching outside ourselves for happiness and satisfaction.

                Understanding Bare Attention.  We have a constant murmuring in our minds... “I like this... I don’t like that... he hurt me... she’s nice... etc.” We are keeping our pleasure principle operating, which tends to be a selfish-childish protagonist. The pleasure principle in psychology is our instinctual seeking  of pleasure and avoiding pain to satisfy our psychological needs, specifically our ID.  By developing Bare Attention, we create a clear single-mindedness awareness of what actually happens to us and in us at the moment of perception. We objectively observe and develop exact registry of the moment.

                Diminishing Reactivity:  To develop diminished reactivity or to control your reactivity, you need to separate your reactions from core events. When our actions are automatic, we are at the mercy of a hostile world.

o   Instead of running from difficult emotions, make space for them and feel them. Process and accept them instead of reacting to them and perpetuation them.

o   Move yourself from reactivity to a non-judgmental awareness of growth and flexibility.

o   Allow yourself to feel... and heal.

Take 5: Mindful Breathing  (Yogic Breath: Simple)

  1. Sit comfortable with abdominal muscles relaxed and straight back, close eyes
  2. Slowly inhale through the nose for 4-6 seconds
  3. First filling the lower belly (activating the 1st and 2nd Chakras)
  4. Then filling the lower rib cage (the 3rd and 4th Chakras)
  5. And finally the upper chest and throat (the 5th and 6th Chakras)
  6. Hold breath
  7. Exhale
Intention and Attitude:  Set, Notice, Return, Do, Acknowledge….

Set a daily intention (or visualization) that you’d like to achieve. Make sure it is realistic

Notice your experience through the day while recalling the intention you set.

Return to your intention

Do Something. Choose to actually do something to support your intention.

Acknowledge. Reflect on the change you made and how you supported your intention


Methods of Teaching your Students to be Mindful

Do as I do. If you practice mindfulness, they will.  If you are calm, your students will instinctively move to their own sense of calmness. This reciprocity and attunement with students support their development and contributes to their social and emotional learning and competency.

Help them transition into the learning mindset when they enter the classroom by redirecting their attention away from their own preoccupations and activities in attracting their interest with something else.

o   Signal you are ready to start class by flickering lights, or making a sound, or a clapping call and response sequence
o   Take out something fascinating to look at and invite students to examine it
o   Read a poem or music lyrics
o   Pose a riddle and engage students in solving it

      Japanese Koans are good for this. A Koan is a paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment.
                                ~ What is your original face before you were born?
                                ~ When you can do nothing, what can you do?
                                ~ What is the sound of one hand clapping?
                                ~ When the many are reduced to one, to what is the one reduced?
                                ~What is the color of wind?
Resources:
o   Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything By Deborah Schoeberlein
o   http://www.mindfulschools.org/resources/sample-lesson/
o   http://www.mindfulteachers.org/