Through introducing MIDL mindfulness meditation softening techniques into schools we offer teachers and students, with their parents, a way of lowering stress levels, regulating emotional responses, improving mental clarity and increasing learning and creativity within the classroom.
* Introduce mindfulness meditation through elementary Art classes. (1)
* Educate teachers in recognition of the stress response and its affect on students.
* Educate teachers in MIDL mindfulness softening techniques for turning off the stress response.
* Introduce short mindfulness meditation breathing techniques at the beginning of classes to settle students, re-engage autonomous breathing and increase creativity and learning.
* Educate students in breathing techniques to settle difficult emotional responses.
(1)At the elementary level, all students receive the subject of Art, and typically, the same teacher sees every student in the school. This offers consistency and will build the foundation for secondary school, when Art becomes an elective.
* Switch off stress response in students through allowing C02 levels to re-balance.
* Lower aggressive behavior through switching off stress response.
* Settle restlessness and increase of attention span.
* Increase mental clarity and creativity within the classroom.
Everything in life benefits from creating a strong foundation. If we want to build a tall building then the foundation must be firm and strong. Not taking the time to create a strong foundation means that as we add extra levels, the building will have a higher risk of collapse.
The process of education is no different to constructing a building, each level of education rests on the previous ones, and all levels rest on the correct conditions for learning. If we want our children to learn and have the best opportunity in life then we must first create a strong foundation by addressing the natural conditions that the child brings with them into the classroom.
These conditions are outside of the education systems influence and are based on economic and social pressures that influence a child’s development. This economic and social conditioning is brought into the school environment by each child throughout their education. What affects one child affects the others around them, human beings are social creatures and our influence on others around us through our behavior can be clearly seen.
If not addressed, any conditioning that a child has received through economic and social pressures can have an impact on their education through inhibiting their ability to fit into the social fabric of the classroom situation and to sustain the necessary attention span to retain knowledge. In the short term this affects the ability of the child and those around them to learn; in the long term this has social consequences that affect the whole of society.
The conditioned factors through economic and social pressures that may affect learning are:
1. Emotional regulation.
2. Attention span.
3. Ability to be still.
MIDL mindfulness meditation offers a form of mental training to address these three conditioned social factors, with the understanding that the neural pathways within our brain are pliable and are open to change.
Through using simple mindfulness techniques in a systematic and focused way, we can enhance our children’s learning capacity through teaching them foundation skills by addressing the three conditioned factors of emotional regulation, attention span and ability to be still.
Literally we can rewire their brains for learning, we do this by teaching students three mindfulness training's.
1) Softening Training:
MIDL mindfulness meditation teaches mindfulness softening/acceptance skills to give students skillful ways of dealing with stress and difficult emotions that they may experience.
Through developing sensitivity to changes within their breathing as it moves from belly to chest throughout the day and mindfully re-engaging diaphragmatic breathing, students can learn how to switch off the stress response and defensive emotions.
2) Attention Training:
Our ability to concentrate is developed in mindfulness meditation by training the skill of keeping our meditation object in mind for a period of time and noticing when our attention moves away from it.
We begin our attention training by using simple meditation objects like remembering the touch of our hands, what it feels like to sit on a chair and then move onto mindfulness of our breathing.
3) Stillness Training:
This is a very simple and beautiful practice of learning to sit still and relax through our body part by part - allowing relaxation to go deeply into our muscles. We then mentally feel this deep relaxation and learn how to mentally relax.
The ability to physically and mentally relax is an important skill for resting our mind to lower excessive thinking, defensive emotional responses, restlessness and to aid in sleeping deeply throughout the night.
This article was written by Stephen Procter, The Mindfulness Alliance Foundation. If you wish to post this article on another website or in a publication please respect the author and reference/link back to this website, thank you.