Mindful Moments

Ways mindfulness is used in classrooms

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging one’s feelings. A term that can be used in a variety of ways, but why is it so important?

“To me, mindfulness means a quiet awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings,” English teacher Jaimie O’Connor said. “We might concentrate on our internal thoughts and feelings or on sensations around us. Both of these pauses could be beneficial, depending upon our current state of mind.”

Practicing mindfulness can help ease a child who may be struggling or simply having a bad day. It allows students a moment to forget about all the worries carried on their backs throughout school.

“In class, we practice mindfulness techniques such as 20 minutes of quiet reading, stretching and meditation,” junior Natasha Wood said. “Practicing these mindfulness techniques has been beneficial to my classwork and classroom environment. It keeps me focused after a long day of challenging classes and helps me to recenter my objective for the day.”

Especially with the heavy stress load created by COVID-19, many teachers have begun practicing mindfulness activities within their classrooms. One technique of several teachers is mindful minutes. These usually consist of minute long videos that are meant to calm the mind of any negative thoughts a student could have been experiencing before entering the classroom. Some common mindful minutes can be breathing exercises, positive affirmations or even animal videos.

“I believe practicing mindfulness in class has been helpful to students,” O’Connor said. “I get many comments from my students about that one minute giving them a needed pause in a stressful school day. Even students who may not feel that a guided meditation may benefit them can benefit from a simple moment of quiet or downtime where they are not being directed to do something curricular.”

Despite being small, mindful minutes are a quick way to relieve some extra stress. The practice of mindfulness, especially in classrooms where students spend most of their time, can provide a positive, safe and calming environment for both students and teachers.