Mindfulness is a process in which one's psychology is tested based on the ability to treat current situations without prejudice. Achieving this process needs a person to meditate the current circumstance moment-by-moment, analyzing the environment, feelings, and thoughts of the target group. When practicing mindfulness, one's mind harbors interesting thoughts about the present rather than the past or the future. Teaching mindfulness to students in high school can be difficult if non-participative models are used. Therefore, most teachers are encouraged to uphold smaller groups of more interactive students. Students gain a sense of belonging when the group is smaller. They freely express themselves, and it's more comfortable for a teacher to deduce what the students need. A teacher has to consider the three components of mindfulness, which are attention, intention, and attitude. The mindful practice may require a quiet place, meditation by closing eyes, and maintaining a wakeful sitting position. The teacher should also understand the impact of mindfulness and the situations where it applies. Therefore, this paper offers a literature review of three articles on mindfulness in high school and a model to practice the same effectively.
Kenneth Tobin published an article on Mindfulness in Education, which entails research conducted on the role of emotions in teaching and learning. In the article, Tobin explains research conducted in 2010 in urban schools of New York and Philadelphia (Tobin, 2018). The chosen areas had reported incidents of difficulty in teaching and learning, resulting from a lack of knowledge by teachers to manage and understand educational environments. Collaborative methods had been applied feelings of fear yet, anger and sadness engulfed most students who felt their psychological needs were neglected. The research showed that the existence of an unruly behavior made it difficult to effectively teach science subjects in high schools in the two states. The research also connected the existing relationships between breathing and emotions. The bio-psychological process connects the reason why psychology is an important factor in building positive relations between teachers and students in education.
The research developed authentic inquiry criteria that would help understand the needs of teachers and students in the learning process. Authentic inquiry encompasses learning form a study and adding quality to educational material under research. Collective ideas from research should be used to answer the questions of what and why in the current situations. In the end, the dissemination and acquisition. The research then focused on emotion and wellness as important factors in the educational program (Tobin, 2018). Tactical and catalytic authentic inquiry showed that teachers and students need a toolkit to dispose of their feelings of excess anger, sadness, anxiety, and happiness. Mindfulness and meditation were discovered as the best ways in which the target group would freely express their emotions to improve the quality of learning through non-judgmental understanding.
Tobin also states research he conducted alongside Roth on the heuristics on mindfulness in education. The two identified interaction and listening and speaking as the fundamental aspects of learning and teaching. Researchers chose characteristics based on participants for the focus of the study on awareness and provision of opportunities for contemplation by students (Tobin, 2018). The study conducted by Tobin provides an example of a heuristic for mindful intermediation. For instance, when I interact with others, I breathe in and out. The example was used further to discuss the relationship between emotions and physical wellness. For example, feelings of anger and anxiety related to an increased heartbeat rate. Therefore, Tobin's article is a useful tool for understanding mindfulness in a classroom setting. It, however, does not give finer details on what a teacher would do to make mindfulness effective in a high school setting, as explained in the next article.
Emily Campbell conducted an annotated bibliography on Mindfulness in Education Research Highlights. One of the articles she discusses was initially published by Barnes et al., who talk about the impact of stress reduction on the negative behavior of students in high school. In the study, two groups of students were selected with the first group as the Transcendental Meditation group while the other involved a health education group. The TM group had 25 participants, while the control group had 20 (Campbell, 2014). In either case, they were exposed to 15minute meditation and health education, respectively, for four months. The results showed that the TM students showed positive behavior in declined absenteeism, rates as compared to the control group.
Barnes et al. further conducted another research on the Impact of Transcendental Meditation on the cardiovascular health of students with normal blood pressure. In this study, the TM group had 17 students, while the control group had 18. In either case, a 15-minute meditation or health education was conducted twice a day for two months (Campbell, 2014). In the end, students under TM showed greater cardiovascular health improvements at rest or under acute laboratory stress as compared to the control group. Therefore, the findings of Barnes et al. show that effective learning requires meditation and wellness, which are dependent variables. An effective learning process requires proper mediation by either the teacher or student for knowledge acquisition to occur. Mindful meditation is, therefore, likely to reduce tension and anxiety among students, encourage social interactions, and improve the academic performance of students in high school. Teenagers crave attention hence would willingly sit in classes where their concerns are heard and responded to.
Patrick Cook-Deegan describes his first mindfulness class at a charter high school in Oakland city, giving eight practices that a teacher would need to make it effective. The first impression he receives from the class is of chattering voices and a student sleeping in a chair, which implies it will be a difficult lesson (Cook-Deegan, 2014). For starters, the first-class entails a challenging session that involves students responding to a question on when they last faced stress and how they reacted to the stressful situations. As it turns out effective for him, Deegan suggests the eight ways to improve mindfulness sessions. In the first session, the teacher scales down the students into manageable groups of at least twelve students each. Smaller groups improve teacher-student relationships, which enhances mindfulness in smaller issues that affect the learning process. It also enlightens teachers on the learning disabilities of students reflected in their performance. In the second session, nurture intrinsic motivation. Let the students understand that there are no grades or homework, like in the normal classes. Help them understand that the class is essential for their interpersonal wellbeing rather than rewards.
In the third session, schedule your work, starting with older students. Students in the final year are less goofy and participate in an exercise with less monitoring and closure that freshman and sophomores. Therefore, the juniors need more following to participate in the exercises, and this might be very overwhelming. Fourth, create learning sessions at least once every week. The consistency allows students to see the impact of these lessons to their personal and academic lives (Cook-Deegan, 2014). Fifth, create nine to twelve classes for the students. The more the classes, the deeper the immersion into other academic curricular hence improvement in general performance and behavior. Sixth, create lessons during midmorning times when concentration is high. Additionally, if students find the lesson impactful, all other academic classes will be beneficial for the rest of the day. Seventh, consider the merits of in-house or outside learning. Most students may prefer practical learning outside the classroom for more concentration and knowledge absorption. Lastly, develop a feedback program that allows students to realize the impact of the class sessions. The teacher should also understand that their work bore fruits.
Conclusively, studies on mindfulness in education are minimal. More research needs to be conducted on how mindfulness can be effectively immersed in academic programs. So far, the studies do not extrapolate the immersion process. As a result, future research should focus on the benefits of mindfulness and how it can be integrated into the school program to affect learning positively.
Campbell, E. (2014). Mindfulness in education research highlights. Greater Good: The Science of Meaningful Life. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/mindfulness_in_education_research_highlights
Cook-Deegan, P. (2014). Eight Tips for Teaching Mindfulness in High School| Greater Good. Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/eight_tips_for_teaching_mindfulness_in_high_school
Lopez-Gonzalez, L., Amutio, A., Oriol, X., & Bisquerra, R. (2016). Habits related to relaxation and mindfulness of high school students: Influence on classroom climate and academic performance. Revista de Psicodidactica, 21(1), 121-138. https://www.redalyc.org/pdf/175/17543420007.pdf
Tobin, K. (2018). Mindfulness in education. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23735082.2018.1433623
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