This morning I read an article that got me thinking all day. The article is about a school that replaced ‘detention’ with ‘meditation’ (give it a read!). The overall idea is that detention does not serve to get the students thinking about their behaviour, whereas directed meditation could. The school claims to have significantly reduced suspensions and increased attendance, with the students using the techniques taught during these sessions in their classrooms and even at home.
I dabbled with mindfulness at my school in London, as one of the teachers there was qualified to teach it to the students. Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to continue with the course at the school, which I regret now. I have diagnosed anxiety and stress issues, so I feel like if I were to learn it properly I could really benefit from it. The benefits it could have for me personally and professionally are very attractive.
I can also see exactly how it could benefit students. High school is an incredibly stressful time, and many of our students are not coming to school able to deal with their emotions in a productive or healthy way. Teaching them how can only benefit everyone involved.
I know that meditation and mindfulness are two separate things, so it would be interesting to see if any school has done both with the students, and what outcomes there were. Perhaps a mindfulness course at large, and meditation sessions with a focus on the mindfulness techniques and behaviour recognition instead of detentions?
I feel like mindfulness is more active than meditation, as it can be used at any time in any place. You don’t need to sit silently in a quiet room to practice mindfulness. It is very much an on-the-spot technique for interacting with the world.
I feel like the students at my current school could really benefit from mindfulness training. So much so that I am right now looking into how I get the training myself so that I could eventually offer it to the school!
Do you have experience with meditation or mindfulness, personally or in a school setting?
About the Author:
Emily is a secondary science and math teacher in Australia. She enjoys blogging about her experiences, facilitating the ‘light bulb’ moment in her students, and drinking tea and wine. Emily is currently on maternity leave with her first child. You can read more teaching articles from Emily here, or about her life as a new mum over at Actual Mums.