Why Teachers Need This (Not Just Another Fad To Take Up Teacher Time) !
What’s this mindfulness education we keep reading about? Why is it a part of some classrooms these days?
I was reminded of these questions the other day in talking to some parents after a school session I had run…They are good questions! What is all this talk of ‘meditation’ and ‘mindfulness’?
As a primary school teacher, I often use yoga and mindfulness with students from grade prep (5-year-olds) up to High Schoolers. Basic yoga moves are great for younger kids who might struggle to sit still. But all yoga sessions (and they are never more than 5 mins!) were followed by a few minutes of quiet sitting – leading into mindfulness practiceas they got less fidgety!
At The University of Melbourne we have a department called Positive Psychology that, among other areas, focuses on mindfulness for students in schools.
Mindfulness is a type of meditiation that has no religious or spiritual overtones. It is about reminaing present and reducing stress and perhaps calming that over-active mind!
Here are three good reasons to support mindful practice in the classroom:
1. Mindfullness is a way to focus on the moment, not what happened last night on tv, or who you might play footy with at recess. It provides a break in the day that can help us – and our students – refocus on learning.
2. It brings the class together as a group. We know that learning is social. We learn better when we can make sense of things through others. When we use mindfulness it lets the class know that we are in this together!
3. It can help manage childhood disputes or disagreements. I remember one year, after nearly every recess, I’d have at least three students who had struggled to play well outside. Often they just reacted quickly without thinking of the consequences. So when their friend refused to sit with them after playtime, they were remorseful and sad – and their friend was hurt. Teachers sometimes use mindfulness to calm situations down and enable frazzled kids to reflect on what has happened. This often meant they could reconcile more easily… and get on with their day.
Mindfulness is not just for kids, of course. Try these apps for your own dose of calm in your crazy day! You can do these short sessions on the train, in the car park, at your kids soccer game…wherever! Have a smart phone and headphones? You are all set!
***This post is not sponsored! I just think these apps are great!***
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