Have you noticed your class drifting off, especially when learning a new topic or skill that is more difficult? Their eyes glaze over, they become more fidgety, shout-out, work avoidance and more.
Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment. He goes on to say, “It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping.
The key to mindfulness is not being in the present every moment of the day. That is not possible and not appropriate for a successful life; you do need some time to reflect in order to improve and prepare for the future. The key is being able to refocus yourself in the present at your will and not at the will of your meandering thoughts.
Refocusing without judgement is a positive mindful activity that allows children to take a breather, allow a moment to step back from the work and then continue in a mindful way that allows for maximum progress.
One way to help children to remain focused in class is to use Colour Meditation.
– At the beginning of the day, get each child to choose a colour and decide to notice that colour on a given signal (This could be the ringing of a bell, code word, etc.)
– Have children take a minute to notice the objects and people wearing that colour. (I like to choose colours that I think will be more difficult to come across as it does make me really stay focused in the moment.)
– Guide them by asking them questions:
-Have you noticed something or someone you have never noticed before?
-How many different things are you noticing? (I always surprise myself when I buy a new car and all of a sudden you notice that car EVERYWHERE!)
– Have the children make a mental note about this #mindfulmoment and congratulate themselves for being in the present and proceed with their learning/work.
With this mindful task, you may find that the world becomes more colourful.
Find more mindfulness strategies on www.educationsvoice.wordpress.com and in the Bloomsbury book, 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Mindfulness in the Classroom by Tammie Prince ( Bloomsbury Link, Amazon Link )