Mindfulness in the classroom, sometimes called “contemplative pedagogy,” involves teaching methods designed to cultivate deepened awareness, concentration, and insight.
“What we know of learning is that the predominant factor is not merely time on task; it is the quality of attention brought to that task. If our attention is somewhere else, we may have little capacity to be present. Paradoxically, we may need to not do for a few minutes to be more available for doing the task at hand. At the beginning of class I might turn the lights off and instruct students: ‘Take a few deep, slow, clearing breaths. Let your body release and relax; let any parts of you that need to wiggle or stretch do so. Now feel the gentle pull of gravity, and allow the chair beneath you to support you without any effort on your part. Just let go and allow yourself to be silent and not do anything for a few minutes. You may want to focus on your breathing, allowing it to flow in and out without effort.’” Tobin Hart, Professor of Psychology, University of West Georgia, Opening the Contemplative Mind in the Classroom. Journal of Transformative Education, Vol. 2 No. 1, January 2004.
Infusing mindfulness, breathing, and other self-care strategies into a classroom setting is easy and has many benefits to support student learning
- Reduce numeration
- Stress reduction
- Boosts working memory
- Improves Focus
- Less emotional reactivity (more logical reactivity)
- More cognitive flexibility
There are many ways to build this into a classroom setting
- In your weekly Canvas module, add in a mindfulness or breathing video for students to do. You can select videos and activities from SCS meditation station, TAO, and other science-based activities
- As part of a break during class, do a 3 minute activity for re-focus to continue with learning
- Begin class with a 2 minute breathing exercise to help with focus as you prepare for learning for the day
- Have students use mindfulness library in TAO during the week as part of a course assignment or reflection activity
- Begin class with a written mindfulness reflection prompt
View this video on student’s experience with Mindfulness in the Classroom and how it benefited her as a student.