Everybody Present: Mindfulness in the Classroom CNM Second

Everybody Present: Mindfulness in the Classroom
CNM Second Annual Conference on Teaching and Learning - 2014
Kristin L. Roush, Ph.D.
“Master Teachers are Mindful Teachers”
Mindfulness is paying attention to what is happening now. This awareness can improve mental
focus and academic performance. Mindfulness mysteriously seems to cultivate emotional
balance, kindness and compassion. These qualities enhance the learning process.
Some Suggestions
 Never tell the class that they are getting out early today. The minute you do that, they
are energetically out the door with anticipation of class ending at any moment. They
have their pen in one hand and their car keys in the other.
 While speaking, make use of the pregnant . . . . pause . . . to focus . . . . attention.
 While speaking, use cadence chunking to simplify and to focus attention. You can even
use your body to illustrate. For example, “Neurotransmitters… are the chemical
messengers … of the nervous system … just as hormones … are the chemical messengers
… of the endocrine system.” Or, “Spontaneous recovery … is the sudden reappearance …
of a previously extinguished… conditioned response.”
 Tell them they are your favorite class. They will start behaving more like they deserve
that distinction.
 Announce to the class that you invite one person per class session to raise her hand and
ask, “What are you feeling?”
 Take roll or hand back tests by students responding with either “present” or “here and
now.” Or, ask them to share something they are grateful for.
 If using an attendance sheet, tell students they must sign it using their non-dominant
 At the beginning of class, have students write in their notes, “If I was going to be
distracted by anything today during class, it might be ______________________. I
choose to set this aside for the next 75 minutes.”
 When students break into small group discussion, notice and point out how seating
arrangements affect energy flow and feelings of inclusion or exclusion.
 Draw a partially closed circle on the board and ask how it feels. Then, close the circle
and ask how that feels.
 Suggest that students write a word, phrase, or initials at the top of every page of notes
as a reminder of an intention. For example: BHN (for: Be Here Now), Notice, NG/NB/JI
(for: not good, not bad, just is), Peace, Gratitude.
 If continuing class after giving a test, have students hand in the completed test and pick
up an almond, box of raisins, or some type of food and do an eating meditation while
waiting for others to finish the test.
 When the energy in the room has dropped to an unbearable level, stop the class and do
a physical activity. Tell them to “freeze” and then ask, “What are you feeling right now?”
Then, ask them to cross to the other side of the room and introduce themselves to at
least three people on the way. When they are seated again, ask, “Now what are you
feeling?” Point out the rise in energy level. Or, lead them in an Energy Psychology
technique, such as The Cross Crawl, K-27 and Thymus Thump, or Wayne Cook Posture.
 Model making a process observation, “Hmm…I seem to have lost control of my
 During mindfulness practice, just notice, “ah, thought” or “ah, feeling.” Don’t label it or
judge it, even if it is a pleasant thought or feeling.
 Take your own pause during class while erasing the board, distributing handouts, or
while students work in groups.
 A quick focusing technique: Look down at your feet, notice your shoes, the floor, where
you are located. You are usually somewhere in the vicinity of your feet. 
 Acknowledge your transition time on the way to and from school.
Discussion Questions
What is your previous exposure to or experience with mindfulness in the classroom?
If you have implemented mindfulness strategies in the past, what worked and what didn’t work? Why?
How can you imagine using mindfulness strategies in one or more of your courses?
What further information and support would you need to begin using mindfulness strategies in the
What are you feeling? 
Energy Medicine by Donna Eden, 2008
Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything by Deborah
Schoeberlein, 2009
MindfulSchools.org (K-12), Smart-in-Education.org
TheHawnFoundation.org (Goldie Hawn’s MindUp Program, K-8)
[email protected]
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