Mindfulness in school: benefits for both teachers and students
The practice of Full attention or Mindfulness, more than a set of techniques to be in the present moment, it is an attitude towards life . It is a style of coping that promotes personal strengths, and within the classroom, provides benefits for both students and teachers.
The goal of Mindfulness in the educational context is that the participants acquire a state of consciousness and calmness that helps them to self-regulate their behavior and to know each other better , in addition to creating an environment conducive to learning.
Teaching with Mindfulness fosters the pedagogical community, in which students flourish academically, emotionally and socially; and in which Teachers take full advantage of the climate that is created within this educational environment . Mindfulness is a conscious and intentional way of tuning in to what is happening inside us and around us, and allows us to unmask automatisms and promote integral development.
Mindfulness is increasingly popular in schools
Mindfulness became popular in the West thanks to the physician Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts, who in 1978 began using Mindfulness with patients suffering from chronic stress. Since then, Mindfulness is applied in different areas, such as clinical, work or sports.
Scientific studies show that Regular Full Attention practitioners have more neuronal density, greater well-being, are more efficient in their work and are less likely to suffer depression or anxiety In recent years, Google gives Mindfulness training to its employees with the program Search Inside Yourself, and many leading companies have followed in their footsteps.
In the educational context, Mindfulness has also been put into practice in many schools and institutes. In Spain, there are several autonomies that are participating in the development of this practice. The Government of the Canary Islands implanted for the first time a compulsory subject that is called Emotional Education, and that includes Full Attention as part of its agenda. In Andalucia, the trainer and researcher in the field of Full Consciousness and Emotional Intelligence, Olivia Recondo, teaches Emotional Intelligence courses through full attention for trainers in collaboration with the Junta de Andalucía. In Aragón the Happy Classrooms Program is carried out, in Catalonia the Treva Program, and in the Valencian Community the Conscious Schools Program.
Only a conscious educator can educate consciously
Teachers are people who play a fundamental role in society, as they are responsible for the important role of educating future generations. His work is not only focused on teaching theoretical knowledge, but also they are also responsible for promoting a series of values and skills in students for their development within society .
Being a teacher is not always an easy task, and the great demand that comes with being a teacher can cause chronic stress, emotional fatigue and relationship problems with students. Mindfulness has proven its effectiveness in these situations. For example, reducing teaching stress, sick leave, depression, anxiety or Burnout.
The regular practice of Mindfulness gives teachers tools that allow them to face problematic situations and help improve their quality of life and well-being. This, in turn, has an impact on their performance and their relationship with their students, which creates an optimal educational environment for learning.
Benefits of Mindfulness in teachers
Some of the benefits that Mindfulness brings to teachers are the following:
- Improves attentional focus and awareness
- Increase receptivity to the needs of students
- Encourages emotional balance
- Supports management and stress reduction
- Promotes good health of personal relationships at work
- Improves the climate of the classroom and fosters an optimal environment for learning
- It promotes general well-being and self-esteem
Benefits of Mindfulness in students
The ability to reflect on one's inner world, and on one's own emotions and thoughts with an attitude of compassion towards oneself, brings benefits for the well-being of students, and is an essential part of Mindfulness training.
A meta-analysis carried out in 2011 by Joseph Durlak, in which 270,000 students from all the academic stages participated, concluded that those students who had carried out socio-emotional education programs in primary school not only showed significant improvements as adolescents in behavioral issues (for example, being less violent), but that they also obtained an improvement in their academic results compared to those who did not receive that training .
But not only emotional regulation is an essential part of Mindfulness training, and there are many studies that have contributed scientific evidence on the positive influence of Mindfulness on the so-called executive functions of the brain , such as attention, memory or mental flexibility, all essential for good personal and academic performance.
The usual practice of mindfulness is beneficial for students for many reasons. Below are the benefits that Mindfulness brings to students:
- Improves academic performance
- Improve self-concept
- Reduces aggression and violence
- Increase creativity
- Improve participation in the classroom by promoting impulse control
- Boost memory
- Improve concentration and attention
- Reduces test anxiety
- It favors the willingness to learn
- Promotes self-reflection and self-complacency
- Enhance empathy and understanding towards others
- Promotes prosocial behaviors and healthy interpersonal relationships
- Improves social and emotional learning
- Improve overall health
- Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D. & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students' social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82 (1): 405-432.
- Frank J. et al. (2015): "The effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction on educator stress and well-being: results from a pilot study". Mindfulness 6, 208-216.
- Hassed Craig and Chambers, Richard (2014). Mindful learning: reduces stress and improve brain performance for effective learning. Exisle Publishing