With the evidence supporting effective results from adult populations practicing mindfulness, many schools and researchers around the world are growing more interested in mindfulness with students. This article provides a brief overview of several studies demonstrating positive outcomes associated with mindfulness-based interventions geared specifically towards youth.
Teachers choose education as a path because they want to make a difference in kids’ lives. However, in very few of these formal frameworks for evaluation and conduct do we see this intrinsic motivation reflected clearly and without ambiguity. Broken by the disconnect between these external structures and their internal values, far too many of our teachers burn out.
Journaling and writing about past stressful events can help individuals work through the experience and reduces the impact of the stressors on ones’ physical health. Further research indicates that journaling also bolsters the analytical and rational parts of the brain.
All things exist in relationship. We cannot expect to understand the health of a plant, or a human, without understanding the context in which it lives, breathes and grows. In the same way, we cannot expect to implement effective educational reform without understanding the equally intricate web of relationships present in a classroom, school, and community.
What do a French philosopher, a modern neurologist, and trees have to do with emotional intelligence?
First, that we must stop trying to understand and teach emotional intelligence through the lens of thought alone.
We may not be able to see, touch, feel, or even measure the immediate impact of teaching a lesson on mindfulness, active listening, or self-compassion. And, in truth, the work is difficult, messy, ambiguous, and outside the comfort zone of many adults still grappling with their own emotional intelligence. As long as we remain clear on our why, however, we will find our how.
Life moves in a series of rhythms. In each day there is a natural rhythm to the rising and setting of the sun, and in each year there is a rhythm to the passing of seasons. Even closer to home, life itself depends on the ever-changing rhythm of our heart and lungs. And, in our daily lives, we experience the varied rhythms of stress, productivity, relaxation, rest, and pleasure.
One of the most common questions I am asked by educators in regards to social and emotional learning (SEL) is, “How do I generate buy-in at my school?” Given that buy-in has been established as one of the single most important factors for the success of an SEL program this is an important question. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that we are asking the wrong question.
If happiness is the most universally desired outcome for our children, then we would do well to honestly and objectively examine the question: “Are we creating the causes and conditions that are most likely to lead to happiness for our children?”
When students feel unsafe they don’t learn. So, how can we support students in the face of such global tension? Is there anything that we can do as educators and parents to create a sense of safety?
Absolutely. The same principles for effective treatment and prevention of trauma hold true here. Here are five practices to support your students (and yourself) following a tragic event.