I’ve been wondering about how I could incorporate more well-being stuff into my classroom. A chance conversation (as seems to be the norm on Twitter) yesterday with an esteemed tweep, @lasic, was the catalyst to trying mindfulness in the classroom. Tomaz suggested smilingmind as a resource. (Yes, check it out).
I signed up and tried the first edu session for 16-22 year olds with my 10 IST class today (last period) – a bunch of really lovely girls who are used to me saying, ‘let’s try something new’….aside, it’s really wonderful to have a class like that!
This was also a good opportunity to get started with using discussion forums, a feature available in our Sharepoint-based virtual classrooms. Another aside…Whatever else people may say how outdated forums are, the reality is that it is used in universities. I figured, my students should at least be exposed to it and see how it compares to other forms of asynchronous conversations.
Straight after the 5-min activity, they were given another 5 minutes to reply on the forum. I asked them whether or not it was worthwhile to have mindfulness activities in the classroom and why. Here are some of the responses:
Yes. So that I can be motivated to do it because I want to keep my mind happy.
[Yes]…because it relaxes the mind and in turn, the person, which makes it easier for the person to complete meaningful work and also to complete it more diligently.
Yes…because I feel that a student is more likely to concentrate with full focus in class once they have centred their thoughts and relaxed from thinking about all the problems they may be going through…
I think it depends on the subject as some subjects are not relevant to this
Maybe we should at times to rest our mind from other things we do at school.
[Yes]…to enable us to clear our thoughts…and concentrate more in class
This is a good class of happy and engaged students. Today, they were all ‘happy’, relaxed, inquiring, more daring, less afraid to ‘fail’. Being on my 2nd year with this class, trust me when I say there was a different and even more positive vibe in the classroom.
It’s too early to tell whether or not it is worthwhile to do mindfulness activities in the classroom. Previous readings on the topic and my gut feel from today is that yes, it will be. It certainly helped me focus, which on a busy and full teaching day, is quite amazing and pleasantly surprising.
As with anything, if this is to happen at all, it’s got to be given time and space. I think I can afford to give it 5 minutes in an 80 minute lesson. No? If this has a consistent effect, I think the 5 minutes is time well invested not just in well-being but in learning. We did it at the start of the lesson. I may experiment with timing and try midway or even towards the end. *watch this space*
Have you tried mindfulness activities in the classroom?
How did you do it?
Would you recommend it and why?