Mindfulness in the classroom

Past, Present and Future are the three essential ingredients of life. We cannot change the past nor can we predict the future, that is why we are given the gift of the ‘present’. Being aware of what we are doing, how aware we are, can mould us into a completely different human being. Be it in a classroom or our day to day life, we should always acknowledge what we are doing. Concentrating on one thing at a time helps moving things forward rather than multitasking and messing everything up. In today’s world, we get easily distracted and find it difficult to concentrate on one thing for more than a few minutes. This affects both psychologically and physiologically, especially for the children.

In a classroom, a child gets easily distracted due to his/her active imagination. For a toddler, it is not possible to concentrate if the teacher only teaches theoretically. They need visual aids to put a face to everything the teacher speaks of, otherwise, they will get distracted by small things. For a teen, daydreaming is a part of their day to day life. They love to create a fantasy land and escape reality, even sitting in a classroom, for hours. It is a teacher’s job to gain their attention by any means. This can be done by introducing ‘mindfulness’ in a classroom. With heightened academic pressure children are facing less time for extracurricular activities and more on focusing on their studies. The students and the teachers are equally stressed and anxious in their day to day lives. The parents are no exceptions. Their lives are equally stressful. So, mindfulness can help the parents too, along with the teachers and students. Mindfulness is a state of awareness achieved by focusing on something. Meditation plays a big role in it. Meditation relaxes our mind taking away all the tiredness from the hassles of daily life.

Mindfulness should be incorporated into our daily curriculum. It helps to focus on the present rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future about which we cannot do anything about but waste our time. A relaxing healthy environment is really important for a student to learn something by focusing on a particular subject and not worrying about anything else at that given point of time. A teacher plays a vital role in grabbing a student’s attention by engaging the student with conversations, asking the student questions related to the subject making the subject more interesting. Being attentive in class makes half the work done and one can focus on doing the homework rather than studying the topic as good as new because of the lack of attentiveness. For smaller children, a subject can be made interesting if the teacher approaches them in a playful manner or by drawing pictures. Mindfulness can be introduced in everyday life to manage stress more effectively and improve one’s emotions in different situations. It will lead to calmness both mentally and physically giving the opportunity of approaching something more creatively. It will not only improve the academic career but it will also reflect on the social life. They will be more interested in mingling with friends and families, taking responsibilities. A positive teacher-student relationship in a classroom helps in establishing new areas leading to bright ideas. Mindfulness cannot be gained in one day. It is an everyday practice in calming the mind to make things work smoothly.

Mindfulness also helps in giving priority to others and seeing the world in a different perspective. One can put themselves in other people’s shoes and empathize with them. Students are more prone to bullying others in order to dominate them. Bullying is nothing but the insecurity and fear of being unnoticeable by others. They think beating others and passing taunting remarks would make them popular, but what they do not realize is that they are just escaping their reality. Practising mindfulness would help them realize their problems and give them a better way of copying it. Different student comes from different family backgrounds and has their way of handling problems. Some makes through it while others can’t. Incorporating mindfulness would help students like these in handling the situation in a better way. Some students are introverts and socially awkward. They prefer to maintain social distance. They fear of getting judged by others and therefore chooses to avoid any social events. Mindfulness would help them from getting overstressed and overcome their fear.

Mindfulness is making yourself aware of something, focusing on something and getting a hold of it. While meditation is the awareness of clearing one’s mind, focusing on nothing, leading to a relaxing and less stressful mind. Meditation is a way of achieving mindfulness but meditation and mindfulness are not the same thing. Mindfulness is about training your mind to focus, concentrate and listen to what the others are saying. This is important in a classroom where the students need to concentrate on what the teacher is trying to say and the concerned teacher should also listen and observe what the students are saying. Taking a test, keeping up with the homework and competition amongst the peers can also be stressful for the students.

The popularity of mindfulness is increasing day by day because it can be practised anywhere and at any point of time. It should be practised both in school and at home. At school, the teachers and the staff should encourage the students as well as each other in practising it. The teachers could start a separate mindfulness programme for the parents so that the parents could help the students in continuing the practice at home. Mindfulness should not be limited to school and should be practised by everyone in every field of life. It will not only help in getting destressed but also improving one’s performance in day to day life.

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