We have come across this term time and again but, what does it mean and how can we practice it in our schools?
Mindfulness is the awareness that occurs when you focus on the present and on the purpose of what you are doing.
So, Practicing mindfulness in school has both physical and psychological benefits for the students as well as their teachers.
Have you ever had an experience of walking into a Tornado?
If not, try walking into a busy classroom.
First and foremost, in a busy classroom you would find chaos.
Similar to a tornado, students will be busy talking and teachers’ busy trying to complete their lessons while navigating the various requests and unavoidable interruptions.
Mindfulness in a classroom means, the teachers avoiding quick fix solutions like giving them punishments but also achieving a peaceful atmosphere.
Mindfulness helps the students in developing inner peace by restoring their sense of calm.
11 Skills that need to be practiced for mindfulness in classrooms
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of someone else and understand what they are feeling or experiencing. It is often called a “soft skill” and many people deem it as a weakness. Here are few reasons to why empathy is beneficial to students :
Empathy encourages tolerance and acceptance of others.
It promotes social harmony and can reduce the likelihood of bullying.
It develops the students social language and they think about other people’s perspectives.
They learn to care for animals, plants, etc by understanding the role they play in helping another living thing survive, thrive and be happy.
Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Having academic integrity is important for several reasons:
Students who stand up for principles in which they believe have higher degrees of self-efficacy.
Children develop their own values and beliefs and see how courage honesty and respect are part of integrity and how these internal strengths enrich their lives.
Self Control is the ability to control one-self, in particular one’s emotions and desires, especially in difficult situations. We use self- control when we forgive instead of freak-out and when we pay attention instead of paying someone short-shrift.
Self-control regulation skills help children manage their thoughts and feelings, control impulses and solve problems.
It increases decision making capacity
Students practising self control are more focused as they have lower chances of getting distracted by negative thoughts.
Students that are able to practise self control have more harmonious lives because they avoid situations in which they have to choose between desires (eg., to choose between eating that last slice of cake or to stick to their diet)
Compassion is an emotion that provides a sense of shared suffering, combined with a desire to alleviate the suffering of others and to show kindness to those who suffer.
Students who are compassionate have developed profound levels of serenity, resilience and creativity.
Compassion enables students to have better engagement and communication with their peers.
They have a more pleasurable, nurturing relationship with family at home.
It is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium
Effective communication makes learning easier and helps students achieve goals, and increases opportunities for expanded learning and creates an overall positive experience.
When students communicate their thoughts and ideas in the classroom it increases their self esteem and confidence.
The quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.
Students who are humble can recognize their own strengths and limitations and value the contributions of others to their lives.
Intellectual humility may increase openness to learning from the opposing view during disagreements.
The quality of being thankful: readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Students who practise gratitude experience higher levels of positive emotions like optimism, enthusiasm, love and happiness.
Humble students are kinder and more generous to others.
Students are able to cope with stress more effectively and recover more quickly from stressful situations when they are grateful.
The ability to do something that frightens one.
Courageous students feel more confident as it takes more than a slang or insult to bring them down
They see things differently e.g., glass is half full, the sun is brighter, hey that’s a pretty rock)
They lift others up by always encouraging them
When students show courage they are admired and their peers try to model themselves after them
A strong desire to know or learn something.
The urge to explore and seek novelty helps students remain vigilant and gain knowledge about our constantly changing environment.
Studies reveal that curiosity leads to more enjoyment and participation in schools and higher academic achievement. If students are more curious or interested in what’s going on in school, it is easier to get involved, put effort in and do well
Persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. It is a very important character trait for you to be successful in life.
Skills like perseverance are important for preparing children for the challenges they might encounter in everyday situations.
Persistent children learn from their failures and do not give up on their goals.
It means combined action of a group, especially when effective and efficient.
Teamwork between students builds successful adults.
Students communicate effectively when they are working as a team
It teaches students first how to listen, in order to learn how to perform their individual roles.
It is important to develop these skills in a child from those early childhood years. Mindfulness can help in unlocking a childs’ hidden potential while also making them a responsible adult when they grow up. Mindfulness learned as a kid will continue to have a positive impact for the rest of a child’s life.