Mindfulness to Teach Students How to Pay Attention

"One of the primary ironies of modern education is that we ask students to 'pay attention' dozens of times a day, yet we never teach them how," Amy Saltzman elucidates in PBS's Mindfulness: A Teacher's Guide. "The practice of mindfulness teaches students how to pay attention, and this way of paying attention enhances both academic and social-emotional learning."


Mindful Schools recommends starting with a simple practice like mindful listening, where students sit in silence and notice the sounds around them (visit www.mindfulschools.org for a sample lesson). During this exercise, teachers can ring a bell (or tap a singing bowl or vibratone) and have students follow its sound, raising their hands when they no longer hear the ring. Activities like these "retrain the brain's capacity to stay with an experience," Cowan emphasizes.

Making mindfulness a part of the daily classroom routine will produce the greatest results, according to Cowan. The length of practice, however, depends on students' moods; classroom dynamics; and of course, their age. As a general recommendation, Cowan suggests keeping it to a minute or so for younger kids, at the same time every day, and making sure the activities are "body-based." As students get older, they have "a deeper capacity for self-reflection or self-awareness" and the practice can be extended to 5 minutes or more.

Rothschild acknowledges that in a lot of ways, his 7- and 8-year-old students are too young to understand how mindfulness really works, but at least he can expose it to them.


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 The Mindful Educator
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Brochure/Pamphlet:  McKibben, Sarah (November 2014), The Mindful Educator, Education Update, November 2014 | Volume 56 | Number 11 , Retrieved on 2015-04-03
  • Source Material [www.ascd.org]
  • Folksonomies: education mindfulness


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