Setting aside time for reflection and introspection might help students focus.
It’s 7:50 a.m., and 29 students from my first-period English class have entered the building. Laughter, lively discussion, and hasty sips fill the classroom. Almost every kid carries a cell phone in their hands. When the bell sounds, this energetic bunch of 12th-graders will reluctantly put off their phones and take attendance. Then I’ll ask them to do something different. They are meditating.
In this class of active and occasionally noisy students, you could hear a pin drop.
It simply takes a few minutes, yet it completely transforms the atmosphere in my classroom. It’s a fantastic method to get pupils interested in class. It’s a game-changing activity that can help children manage anxiety, boost focus and awareness, and promote emotional regulation and empathy, at the very least.
These advantages assist not only kids but also teachers. It can help teachers cope with stress and be more present at work.
In a high school classroom, how does meditation look? What is the best way to teach it to students? How can you get your students’ support? What are your options for making time?
The emphasis on benchmark test scores, data-driven instruction, and accountability measures can be daunting and discouraging for many educators. Dennis Shirley and Elizabeth MacDonald of The Mindful Teacher call this “alienated teaching.” When teachers feel compelled to comply with mandates from outside sources, they engage in this sort of instruction. They resent it since they aren’t serving their students.
Teachers can use mindful teaching to counteract the consequences of alienated instruction and reclaim their practice’s integrity and efficacy. While there is no one-size-fits-all program or recipe, there are numerous viable models.
This is just one aspect of my strong conviction in attentive instruction. Teachers should feel that by slowing down to breathe and pondering, meditation may be used to improve learning and teaching environments.
GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR PLANNING
Discover your distinct voice. Watch a video of a meditation led by a teacher The next step is to construct a prompt that reflects your teaching style.
Over the last ten years, I’ve been playing with tone and vocabulary for prompts. My goal is to be authentic to my teaching style at all times. To me, confidence, consistency, and conciseness are all essential. My prompt is brief and straightforward:
“Hello, class.” “I hope everyone is having a good morning. “Are you ready for our meditation?” says the narrator. (A brief pause.) Now, everyone, please take a seat in a comfy chair, spread your legs wide, and sit up straight. Place your hands in front of your face on the desk. Let’s take a deep breath in through our noses, hold it for a count of 1, 2, 3, and then exhale through our mouths. Inhale deeply once again, then exhale slowly. Close your eyes slowly now. For a few minutes, relax and clear your mind.
After a few minutes, I say “Thank You” to end the meditation.
STUDENTS WHO ARE INSPIRED
Explain to the pupils that each day they will engage in a brief silent meditation. Meditation appears to be a useful method for lowering stress and boosting concentration, according to expanding research. You can discuss meditation research, such as how it enhances oxygenation and relaxes the nervous system. This is frequently beneficial to pupils right away. Meditation can aid in the reduction of stress and anxiety, as well as the improvement of focus and attention, as well as the better regulation of emotions.
I built a folder in my Google Classroom where I provided these articles as well as a brief primer. This gives pupils access to the resources they require. If there is solid proof, high school pupils are more likely to embrace this behavior. On the first day, meditate to illustrate the method in action.
REFLECT AND PRACTICE DAILY.
As the school year advances, encourage pupils to share their knowledge and practice. Students should read and reply to articles on the subject. Instruct them on how to meditate and to reflect on their practice.
A simple, yet powerful approach that can make a significant difference in the learning environment of a classroom can have a significant influence. Since I began meditating with my pupils a decade ago, I’ve realized that the finest time for genuine dialogue is after a meditation. It aids me in establishing a positive atmosphere in my classroom and connecting with my kids.
Meditation, like so many other aspects of life and education, improves with practice. Be constant in your meditation practice and include it into your regular classroom routine.