The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Elizabeth Holmes

Mindfulness: a classroom tool for all

Looking to introduce mindfulness into your school? Elizabeth Holmes explains why there's potential in the idea, and how you can get started.

After some time in the wilderness, mindfulness has recently enjoyed wide-scale exposure and drawn the attention of researchers keen to determine precisely how useful it is as a classroom tool.

What is mindfulness?

Definitions of mindfulness can vary among practitioners and between schools. For our purposes, Jon Kabat-Zinn’s definition is a useful place to start:

‘Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgementally.’ Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life (1994, Hyperion Books)

Given the pressures that school life can place on staff and students alike, it's no surprise that teachers are turning to holistic mindfulness techniques as a means of encouraging resilience.

Improving emotional wellbeing

While teaching mindfulness to adults and teaching it to children are different processes, the aim is always to improve emotional wellbeing.

Introducing mindfulness

  • 'Why consider mindfulness?' Make sure this is something your school’s community will consider worthwhile and relevant. Do you have a shared understanding of what mindfulness is?
  • Who would be suitable to help you to encourage mindfulness in your school?
  • Does your school already have the skills, qualities and expertise needed to introduce mindfulness or would you need to bring in an external programme?
  • What obstructions might there be? How could these be overcome?
  • What tools might you adopt to help identify and understand any benefits derived from mindfulness in your school (for both teachers and pupils)?
  • How can mindfulness be credible to young people and staff members? How can you ensure that all involved walk the talk?
  • How can parents be involved too?

Further reading

Useful resources

 

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