Before studying how to integrate mindfulness into the classroom, I decided to research just how effective it is as a classroom management tool. I came across a documentary featuring students from a grade 7 class in San Fransisco. At the beginning of the documentary, very little learning was happening. The teacher was constantly stopping the class to move students only to have them talk to their friends from across the room. The school was suspending students more often than any other school in the city. The school’s administration decided to bring in a mindfulness specialist twice a week in an attempt to resolve the situation.
At first, most of the students were uninterested in practicing mindfulness. The specialist spent most of her time trying to get the class to be quiet. After having little progress in the first few sessions, she asked anyone who didn’t want to participate to raise their hands. She then asked each of these students why they did not want to participate. Most of their reasons were that it is boring or unentertaining. After some discussion, some students were asked to leave the room. The specialist explained that the program required student participation and disruptive students take away from the experience for the rest of the class. After this, students began to take the program seriously.
After several weeks of practicing mindfulness, the classroom dynamic had completely changed. 80% of students in the class found mindfulness effective when they needed to calm down and 58% found that it helped them focus in class. Students who used to be sent to the office on a daily basis could now sit through a class without disrupting others. One student even went on to receive an award for the greatest GPA increase in the school.
This documentary shows what an incredible tool mindfulness can be both inside and outside of the classroom. It helps students become calm, focused and ready to learn. It can be done quickly and quietly, meaning that students can use it during class without disrupting anyone else. When a student learns mindfulness, they can use it whenever it is necessary for the rest of their lives.
Long, R. (Director). (n.d.). Room to Breathe: Mindfulness in the Classroom[Video file]. Retrieved November 06, 2017, from http://viuca.kanopystreaming.com/video/room-breathe