How Mindfulness Training Can Improve Learning in Law School

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The Cure for the Distracted Mind:
Why Law Schools Should Teach
Mindfulness
Shailini J. George [email protected]
Professor of Legal Writing
Suffolk University Law School
Fourth Annual Colonial Legal Writing Conference
“Teaching the Academically Underprepared Law Student”
December 6, 2014
What is mindfulness?
Today’s law students
• Millennials
• Digital natives
• “gen M”
• Google generation
• FOMO generation
Why mindfulness in law
school?
Science of Learning
• Frontal lobe-brain’s
manager. Used to
concentrate and
deeply focus.
• Parietal lobe-always
seeking sensory
information from the
environment.
How do we learn?
• Complex, multi-step process which requires
attention
Mindfulness can improve
focus
Benefits of mindfulness
Benefits include:
• Improved attention
• Increased working memory capacity
• Rise in academic achievement
• Increased empathy and self compassion
• Improved creativity
• Boosted immunity
• Reduction in stress and anxiety
Mindfulness in the
classroom
• Breathing exercise
• One minute journal
• Discussion of metacognition
Mindfulness in law
schools now
• Law schools have begun teaching and
encouraging mindfulness
• For credit/not for credit classes
• Emotional intelligence
• Professional responsibility
• Dispute resolution
• Part of clinics
• Meditation retreats
Mindfulness in teaching
benefits learning
Examples:
•
•
•
•
•
Journals
Self-critiques
Mid-term evaluations
Short writing assignments
Muddiest point/one-minute paper
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