Mindfulness to Help Students Learn
Students are learning mindfulness to help them in the classroom. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and to not overly react or be overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. When students are mindful and present in the moment, that’s when they can do their best learning.
Licensed Elementary School Counselor Amber Remackel teaches mindfulness to students and staff at both Kaposia Education Center and Lincoln Center Elementary. She says it’s important to be aware of how you are feeling on the inside and how it can affect you on the outside. Remackel teaches these lessons in classrooms and small groups for grades 4-5 as often as possible, usually every 2-3 weeks. She says, “These lessons are very important to help teach self-awareness and self-regulation skills through stories, movement activities, breathwork, visualization, and other guided practices.”
Remackel says there are three simple and easy concepts for all age groups to teach, practice, and model. They include:
- Opening your attention to the present moment. Being present in the moment allows you to focus on the experience in a wider and more open manner that isn’t involved with selecting, choosing, or evaluation, but simply holding. You become a container for present thoughts, feelings, or sensations in the body and watch for them from one moment to the next.
- Focus on the breath. Let go of that widescreen and bring a focus that’s more concentrated and centered on breathing in one region of your body. Focus on the breath of the belly, or the chest, or the nostrils, or anywhere that the breath makes itself known.
- Bring your attention to your body. Become aware of sensations in your body as a whole, sitting with the whole body, the whole breathe, and moving back to a wider container of attention for your experience.
By focusing on the body as a whole and practicing mindfulness techniques, students learn how to keep their focus and attention on the task at hand. They learn to pay better attention to the lessons, how to work in small group settings, and how to be more aware of the world around them. Remackel says, “The benefits I have seen throughout my many years of teaching mindfulness are a calmness in students, an awareness of what they are feeling, and the ability to choose to believe in themselves.”
You can learn more about mindfulness techniques and practice them yourself using the resources below: