3 Mindful Techniques For the Classroom You Can Use RIGHT NOW!
Starting your class on a mindfulness practice is easy and can be done in a numbers of ways that are NON BORING and will engage a diverse range of students. With so many students stressed, anxious and often under slept, you will be surprised how willing they are to get some tools they can use in the classroom and in their lives to help them feel better and more in control.
Always remind students that like anything in life, the more they practice, the better the effects will be. The truly awesome thing about mindfulness and meditation is that all you need is your mind, your lungs and you’re good to go! Of course these aren’t just for students, you can apply any and all of these in your teaching practice to help you get to that calm place in your mind and experience the same benefits as your students. Here are Calm Mind Project’s top 3 techniques to bust out when your students and you need a mindful moment.
Mindful Breathing: Breath is the quickest, simplest way to get emotion and all those chemicals racing around the brain and body into some kind of alignment. It doesn’t have to be done for a long time to feel the effect, and can be a perfect intervention in times of crisis or just to rest the vibe of the room on a stressful day.
Ask students to stop what they are doing and begin to observe their breath. Being aware of their body, keeping a straight back and opening their shoulders and chest, get them to take a deep breath in through their mouth right into the stomach. Release the breath counting to three, and ask them to visualise it coming in and out as they slowly repeat the exercise. On the third breath, in their minds ask them to breath in the words “I AM” and breath out the word “CALM AND CLEAR”. 5 – 10 reps of this and you will be ready to get back amongst it!
Mindful Movement: Sometimes students need to get active to get mindful and this is particularly good to integrate some outdoors time, connection with their minds and bodies and getting out of their heads through movement. Mindful walking is a perfect exercise when sitting still won’t cut it and no matter the students level of physical ability, some version of mindful walking or movement is usually available.
Mindful walking involves asking the student to concentrate on their feet, muscles and sensations, as they are moving. The purpose is for them to become aware of their own bodies first, and as they are walking, in silence have them say internally “I am walking, I am moving, my legs are walking, my feet are walking etc”. Ask them to become aware of their contact with the ground and the impermanence of each step as they move. You can also ask them to undertake an observational exercise as they walk in silence and come back to the class and share what they noticed that they have never noticed before.
Keeping silence and an internal voice is important, and when they get back to class, have them hold the silence and breathe mindfully for a minute before they share.
Mindful work: Many teachers report that concentration is often an issue for students, so having a mindful work exercise in your classroom toolkit is a perfect solution for that mid arvo slump – and waaaaaay better than chocolate! This Mindful work/reading exercise can be used with any class or task to great effect. Have students focus on the work presented to them and make sure that they are all clear on what they are required to do.
Ring a bell to begin and end the exercise. Ask your students to work quietly and place their full attention on the task at hand. Remind students that if random thoughts get in their way as they practice mindfulness, which inevitably they will, that they can acknowledge the thoughts and then can consciously return to their breath. As they are doing this, as your students to listen, and feel for their breathing sensation to “anchor” them back to the “now” moment and return to the task on hand. If it helps, every so often they can silently say “I am fully present to the moment and the task” in their minds to reinforce the experience.
Using these techniques with students, with choice as to which ones suits the mood of the class is a great way to get students into a regular practice that meets their needs, and over time will become something they look to as their go to action to get themselves, their minds and emotions in alignment.
To a calm classroom,