Here is a summary of how to use mindfulness in the classroom and the benefits of this technique:
How would you like to teach your students a simple technique that improves their ability to learn and also makes them nicer people?
Mindfulness is a practical way to train your brain and make it more effective. Mindfulness in the classroom leads to better student engagement, more focus on set work and positive relationships between students. Even better, the effects of mindfulness training have a flow-on effect to a student’s life outside of school and can help their home life be much happier too.
Today’s students have constant access to social media; their lives are filled with TV and video games. They are constantly stimulated, their brains never get a chance to rest. The effect of this is to make the brain hyper-aroused and unable to concentrate. It can also lead to anxiety, further hampering their learning.
Mindfulness helps students regain their focus, it calms them down and creates a good feeling in the classroom. The techniques are quite simple and, even better, they are free. So, what are they?
There are three key mindfulness techniques that you can use to start each class. There is an additional technique that you can use once the class is underway.
First of all you want your students to focus on a single point. You can draw a smiley face on the board or the students can bring a concentration object. In silence they have to focus on the smiley face for one minute. Before starting it is helpful to explain to them that their mind will wander. These thoughts are called intrusions and they are perfectly natural. As the intrusions come they can notice them, allow them to fall away and return to focus on the point.
After one minute you tell them to ‘Turn over’. This begins the second stage, focusing on their breath. Our bodies naturally carry tension in different places. On each outbreath the student should consciously relax a part of the body that feels tense. Again this is to be done in silence.
The third stage before your start your lesson is about gratitude. Ask your students to write in their diary in the back of their book three things for which they are grateful. Ask them to think about these things for another minute in silence.
Now you can start your lesson. You will find your students are very focused so make sure you can get into meaningful work quite quickly.
Once the class is working you can introduce the 4th element of mindfulness in the classroom. Tell the students that they are to work by themselves with no talking to others for five minutes. The only person they can talk to is the teacher. They must raise their hand and only talk in a quiet voice when you are next to them. You may find that this naturally extends to 10 or 15 minutes.
That’s it. Quite simple really isn’t it? By using mindfulness in your classroom you will notice great benefits to your teaching and in your students’ lives. Go for it!