Mindfulness in the Classroom

Posted on November 15, 2014. Filed under: Mindfulness, Uncategorized | Tags: , |


As a classroom teacher, you know that many of your students are stressed. For some, the stress is simply living in our fast-paced, media-overloaded, multi-tasking world. For others, the stress is performing, “succeeding,” and getting good grades. Student stress frequently inhibits their ability to learn. Practicing mindfulness can set the stage for a calmer, more focused learning environment.

Recently I attended a session presented by Carla Tantillo -(http://mindfulpracticesyoga.com). During the session she shared several simple exercises and I began to realize the potential that mindful practices can have in the classroom.

Mindfulness is simply paying attention to your life, here and now, with kindness and curiosity. The practice of mindfulness teaches students to pay attention, and this way of paying attention enhances both academic and social-emotional learning.  The newly emerging discipline of Mindfulness in K-12 education is actively investigating whether offering mindfulness to children and adolescence enhances attention, executive function, and learning, and promotes pro-social behavior and general well-being. The preliminary data are encouraging and demonstrate the benefits of offering mindfulness across the K-12 age spectrum.While the results are encouraging, it should be noted the field is young and more research is needed (http://www.pbs.org/thebuddha/teachers-guide/).

It is strongly recommended that you discover your own inner stillness and quietness in your own life before you attempt to share these practices with students. If you would like to see what mindfulness might look like in the classroom, take a look at the video below entitled Still Quiet Place, which Dr. Amy Stalzman uses with children from kindergarten through second grade.

Regularly practicing mindful breathing, yoga or other calming exercises can present the opportunity to respond to a situation, rather than react to it. That choice can be empowering to both teachers and students.

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