The Costly Benefits of Mindfulness in the Classroom
Mindfulness is a practice that has been used for centuries in meditation, yoga, and other daily practices. Those who use mindfulness in their daily lives often refer to it as “staying in the present” and/or it is “being in the here and now.” A study by the American Psychological Association conducted in 2012 concluded that “mindfulness practices for stress reduction decrease the risk of psychiatric and cardiovascular complications, and encourage health-promoting behaviors.”
However, there is no proven use of mindfulness in the classroom, which is concerning to teachers and student researchers who are increasingly discovering the benefits of the practice. In a study recently conducted by researchers at New York University, the results found that most teachers who are using mindfulness in their classrooms said they were more confident in their ability to teach well, deal with difficult situations, and manage daily tasks.
Of course, these benefits were not only for the students. Teachers were able to manage their own emotions with less stress, which is only good for everyone involved. In addition, the practice led to increased creativity and increased patience in the classroom. However, these benefits are not enough to make the practice economically feasible.
You may wonder how teachers and students can afford the practice. Fortunately, there are many ways for teachers to use mindfulness that are accessible and affordable.
One of the key things that teachers need to do to start using mindfulness in their classrooms is to practice. To start, a teacher can simply start at home, working through some challenging situations as they arise. A teacher can do this by doing little steps in front of the class, such as writing down a time and place to re-group and then when the first test arrives.
Teachers can start small, either by doing just a small amount of exercises each day or by focusing on a single situation for the entire period, letting it slowly click into place. This will require a commitment, but it could save many hours in the future.
There are many resources online to help teachers and students learn the practice. The books may need some updated information or updates to keep up with the latest changes. For example, Harry A. Hand and Leslie A. Laursen’s Mindfulness App, The Power of Here and Now, all provide step-by-step tools that will help ease some of the troubles that can arise in a classroom.
Take your time to talk to trusted sources, friends, and family about the practice. This can help guide you to how to use mindfulness in your classroom.
Meditation can become a useful alternative to the literature, allowing you to discover how effective it can be. There are many resources online for meditation, such as meditation using guided imagery.
There are some incredible teachers in schools around the world who regularly use the mindfulness practice. For example, Daniel Goldstein uses mindfulness for his eighth grade science class at Vermont Vine Academy in East Windsor, Vermont. He describes it as something that helps students to be more connected to their own thoughts. Students are simply reminded to stop and recognize what they are feeling.
Some educators are also using mindfulness in the classroom to help teachers like Ms. Danielle Hazouri on the communications team at Littleton Central High School in Littleton, Colorado. Although she has always been a first-class communicator, this specific class helped her to hone her skills as a teacher.
As times are changing, teachers are increasingly trying to work with students in a new way. While we often think that learning happens in the classroom, we often forget that we need to live our lives in the classroom as well. Maybe it is time to consider how we can incorporate mindfulness into the daily routine of our students and teachers.