What is mindfulness and how can it help student learning?
Mindfulness is paying attention to something, on purpose, in a particular way. To paraphrase Kabat-Zinn, the cultivation of a mindfulness practice along with meditation can provide teachers with tools to help them manage their personal stress and anxiety more effectively. Specifically, the practice of meditation and mindfulness is being shown to lead to structural brain changes in the area of the brain associated with executive functioning, which includes an individual's emotional regulation, time management and motivation and other functions necessary for task completion.
Some studies are showing structural changes in the brain with as little as ten to twenty minutes a day of meditation over eight weeks. Improvements in executive functioning coupled with the development of a mindfulness practice can help teachers manage their own anxiety, improve their interactions with students, develop a non-judgmental awareness and improve their feelings of self-acceptance.
Incorporating mindfulness activities into the classroom can provide students with tools to manage their anxiety and other emotions and improve personal interactions.
Mindfulness can also help teachers deal with the stresses of the classroom and daily life.
Resources & techniques for practicing mindfulness or incorporating it into the classroom:
Books by John Kabat-Zinn:
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