Teaching mindfulness to students in a sustainable and impactful way includes instruction in some basic brain science along with incrementally less structured meditation activities. Do you want your students to reap the self-regulation and focus enhancing benefits of mindfulness? Even more important, do you want to help your trauma-affected students rewire their brains for academic success? Keep reading to learn an incremental approach to teaching mindfulness to your students. Disclaimer: always give students the option to opt out and make sure they know they do not have to close their eyes if they don't want to. If they don't, guide them to focus on one point in front of them with lowered eyelids.
Teachers who hope to bring mindfulness into their classrooms should start their own practice first. Like any academic content, you should be knowledgeable about mindfulness to incorporate it in your classroom. You can start with highly guided meditations and slowly branch out from there. Start your mindfulness practice so your students’ experiences with mindfulness can be truly beneficial.
True mindfulness fosters stamina, attention, critical thinking, perspective taking, and creativity. Use mindfulness to enhance learning for all of your students, especially those who have experienced trauma.
Mindfulness allows us to shift from a first person to a third person vantage point, in essence gaining control of our thoughts and actions. When we are truly mindful we withhold judgment, which can actually increase our stamina and attention. Mindfulness allows us to think more critically about what we are learning, in the sense that we can start to pay closer attention to the novelty of all aspects of what we attend to and take into account multiple perspectives. Finally, mindfulness allows us to foster our creativity. Keep reading to learn just what makes mindfulness such a strong tool for learning.
Mindfulness taps the higher level functioning brain systems. These systems are responsible for thinking and reasoning. They also can control other parts of the brain. Teachers can use mindfulness to help trauma-affected youth regulate their stress response and generally keep their head in the game.
Mindfulness is a tool that teachers (yes teachers!) can use to help trauma-affected students develop self-regulation. Not sure why you would use mindfulness in your classroom? Keep reading to learn how a consistent mindfulness practice can help trauma-affected youth perform better in school.
My name is Erin E. Silcox. I'm working on my Ph.D. in Literacy Education, focusing on the intersection of trauma and literacy. I want to deepen our base of knowledge about trauma-informed practices in schools and help teachers apply findings right now.