Mindfulness In The Classroom
In western societies, mindfulness is most often associated with the image of a monk sitting still in a tranquil meditative state. While that image may be a far cry from the daily lives of most Americans, there is plenty of opportunity for incorporating mindfulness in the lives of both kids and adults in our schools.
Mindfulness is simply the state of being aware, either aware of our environment, those around us, or even our internal states. With the increased use of smartphones together with our inability to control their use in the classroom, it has become impossible to know whether students are actually paying attention.
By incorporating mindfulness practices in our daily classroom routines, we can teach the students the importance of periodically unplugging from their devices to get in tune with their subtle emotional states. Society and parents keep piling pressure on students to do well in school. Mindfulness may be vital in alleviating mental health issues, as well as promoting empathy, social connection, and focus.
Keep reading to discover our recommended mindfulness tips for students and educators.
Encourage journaling among students. Either at the beginning or end of a school day, give your students a break to express themselves on paper. Promote handwritten journaling over typed; this will help them gather their thoughts in a concise manner. If your class has some success with journaling, allow your students to get creative and explore.
Encourage the students to take breaks when they get stressed out. While instructing students on meditative practices may be a bit far-fetched for most educators. Breathing exercises are a great way to start. Take anywhere from between 30-60 seconds and have the kids pay attention to their breath.
Take advantage of snack time. Snack time is a perfect occasion to impart mindfulness to your students. For instance, try asking them where their snacks came from? How was it made? How does it feel in their hands? How does it taste and so on? Try playing this kind of game with the kids to encourage them to think beyond their snack.
Teach a class outdoors. Taking your class outside can really help your students gain a genuine appreciation for the earth. Learning outside works for any lesson plan from science, geography, literature, history, you name it. Plus, the students could appreciate a change in environment.
Get to know your students. As a teacher, it is imperative to know your students. If you are from a different area, do your research. Find out their names, where they stay; always strive to form some kind of connection with them. This will help you create an open and interactive environment where students feel free to engage with their peers.
Hone your own mindfulness practices. As a teacher, you serve as an example for the students to model after. You should therefore strive to better yourself to ensure the students get the best mindfulness habits from you.
Like a muscle, mindfulness can be grown over time with some practice. Try incorporating some of these tips in your classroom and see how the students respond.