Having just completed another workshop on mindfulness for school teachers, I thought I'd share some tips and tools for any teachers out there interested in trying out some easy practices....
Why do mindfulness practices with students?
You are teaching them to be aware of themselves- their emotions, their thoughts, which allows them to self-regulate. You are giving them practical tools to help with stressful experiences such as tests and exams. When you are in a state of high stress you are flooded with Cortisol - and this stops you literally thinking- you ‘Flip your lid’. Students are also learning to train their attention. More important that ever in this world of distractions.
Some easy practices to use with the students:
Listen to the gong or bell– tune into the sensation of sound. Band a gong or bell and ask the students to close their eyes and put their hand up when they can no longer hear the sound. Excellent for calming the group and promoting good listening.
Petal practice– Close the eyes. Tell them to hold their hand as though it was a closed flower, finger tips together. Tune in to the breath. As you breath in and out, open and close the hand in time with the breath. 1-2 minutes.
FOFBOC: (From Mindfulness in Schools Project, UK)
FOFBOC means Feet On Floor, Bottom On Chair
So ask them to sit on their chair, sitting upright. You might ask them to close or lower their eyes, and imagine they are in a bubble. So they don’t touch or bother anyone else and visa versa.
Suggested script: (Perhaps get a torch to demonstrate what you mean)
Imagine there is a torchlight – this is your awareness. Shine it just on the feet- feel what you can feel there- sensations of hot, cold, tingling perhaps? Sensations of socks, shoes? Bring the mind back to the feet when it wanders. Now feel the torchlight of awareness widen to include your lower legs. What sensations are here? Now expanding into your knees. Noticing feet, lower legs and knees. Now opening up to take in the upper legs, bottom. Can you feel the chair? The clothes? Again, when the mind wanders, just bring it back. Now can you notice your breathing- the breath going in and out? Can you notice them both at the same time? What feelings and sensations are there in your feet, legs and bottom?
Perhaps now you can notice how your whole body is feeling? Is it fidgety? Tired, full of energy? And how is your breath? And when you are ready gently open your eyes and come back to the room.
FOFBOC video- here
Gratitude practice– in a circle asking each student for something they are grateful for. Creates an atmosphere of gratitude and makes us all realize the good stuff (and balances up the negativity bias)
Lots of mindfulness activities here:
Video to help introduce Mindfulness in the classroom with a meditation: here
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