In an inspiring read in Edutopia, author Abby Wills explains how she successfully integrated mindful practices in her classroom instruction and reflected on the positive impact of mindfulness on students learning experiences. By definition, mindfulness is ‘the intentional cultivation of moment-by-moment non-judgmental focused attention and awareness’(Meiklejohn et al). As a meta-cognitive practice, mindfulness was first used within the medical sector before it made its way into education. There is now a huge body of literature emphasizing the importance of integrating mindfulness in classroom learning ( see references at the end of this post to learn more).
The purpose of our post today is to provide you with some very good resources to help you learn more about mindfulness and explore the different ways you can use it both in your own instruction and in your personal life.
1- The Way of Mindful Education: Cultivating Well-Being in Teachers and Students, By Daniel Rechtschaffen (Author), Jon Kabat-Zinn (Foreword)
‘he Way of Mindful Education is a practical guide for cultivating attention, compassion, and well-being not only in these students, but also in teachers themselves. Packed with lesson plans, exercises, and considerations for specific age groups and students with special needs, this working manual demonstrates the real world application of mindfulness practices in K-12 classrooms.’
2- Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents), By Eline Snel (Author), Myla Kabat-Zinn (Reader), Jon Kabat-Zinn (Foreword)
‘This little book is a very appealing introduction to mindfulness meditation for children and their parents. In a simple and accessible way, it describes what mindfulness is and how mindfulness-based practices can help children calm down, become more focused, fall asleep more easily, alleviate worry, manage anger, and generally become more patient and aware.’
3- Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom, By Patricia A. Jennings (Author), Daniel J. Siegel (Foreword)
‘Mindfulness for Teachers is based upon the author’s extensive experience as a mindfulness practitioner, teacher, teacher educator and scientist. Drawing upon basic and applied research in the fields of neuroscience, psychology and education, the book offers valuable information about how mindfulness can help teachers manage the stressful demands of the classroom, cultivate an exceptional learning environment, and revitalize teaching and learning.’
4- Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children, By Thich Nhat Hanh (Author), Chan Chau Nghiem (Editor), Wietske Vriezen (Illustrator)
‘Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children is the fruit of decades of development and innovation in the Plum Village community’s collective practice with children. Based on Thich Nhat Hanh’s thirty years of teaching mindfulness and compassion to parents, teachers, and children, the book and enclosed CD covers a wide range of contemplative and fun activities parents and educators can do with their children or students.’
5- Everybody Present: Mindfulness in Education, By Nikolaj Flor Rotne
‘Everybody Present seeks to create a new kind of culture in our schools: one that counters stress and facilitates learning. It reframes the student-teacher relationship, showing teachers how to supplant antagonism and foster strong relationships by planting seeds of mindfulness in their students and encouraging them to embark on a mindfulness practice of their own.’
6- The Power of Mindful Learning, By by Ellen J. Langer
‘In The Power of Mindful Learning, Ellen Langer uses her innovative theory of mindulness, introduced in her influential earlier book, to dramatically enhance the way we learn. In business, sports, laboratories, or at home, our learning is hobbled by certain antiquated and pervasive misconceptions. In this pithy, liberating, and delightful book she gives us a fresh, new view of learning in the broadest sense.’
7- Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness, By Susan L. Smalley PhD (Author), Diana Winston (Author)
‘In Fully Present, leading mindfulness researchers and educators Dr. Sue Smalley and Diana Winston provide an all-in-one guide for anyone interested in bringing mindfulness to daily life as a means of enhancing well-being. Fully Present provides both a scientific explanation for how mindfulness positively and powerfully affects the brain and the body as well as practical guidance to develop both a practice and mindfulness in daily living, not only through meditation but also during daily experiences, such as waiting in line at the supermarket, exercising, or facing difficult news.’
8- Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness in and out of the Classroom, By Meena Srinivasan
‘Teach, Breathe, Learn is designed for educators at all levels, parents interested in sharing mindfulness with their children, and anyone curious about how to cultivate their own mindfulness practice and eventually teach mindfulness to others.’
9- Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything, By Deborah Schoeberlein David MEd (Author), Suki Sheth (Author)
‘Author Deborah Schoeberlein pioneers the practical application of mindfulness in education. By showing teachers how to tune into what’s happening, inside and around them, she offers fresh, straightforward approaches to training attention and generating caring both in and outside of the classroom’.
10- The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation, By Thich Nhat Hanh (Author), Vo-Dihn Mai (Illustrator), Mobi Ho (Translator)
‘In this beautiful and lucid guide, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercise as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness–being awake and fully aware. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness.’
More resources on mindfulness
- Beauchemin, J., Hutchins, T. L., & Patterson, F. (2008). Mindfulness meditation may lessen anxiety, promote social skills, and improve academic performance among adolescents with learning disabilities. Complementary Health Practice Review, 13, 34–45.
- Broderick, P. C., & Metz, S. (2009). Learning to BREATHE: A pilot trial of a mindfulness curriculum for adolescents. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 2, 35–46.
- Burke, C. (2010). Mindfulness-based approaches with children and adolescents: A preliminary review of current research in an emergent field. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19, 133–144
- Hölzel, B. K., Carmody, J., Vangel, M., Congleton, C., Yerramsetti, S. M., Gard, T., et al. (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 191, 36–42
- Shapiro, S. L., Carlson, L. E., Astin, J. A., & Freedman, B. (2006). Mechanisms of mindfulness. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62,
- Meiklejon, J., Phillips, C., Freedman, L., Griffin, L., et al. (2010). Integrating Mindfulness Training into K-12 Education: Fostering the Resilience of Teachers and Students.Mindfulness, 1(1).