Using Mindfulness for Classroom Management
Take a lesson plan that you have already created and use the UDL checklist at the end of this resource to see how you could adjust what you already have.
Incorporate a moment in your class where students pause and are just present with their emotions and each other.
Mindfulness that’s grounded in emotion may make some students uncomfortable, especially anyone with trauma histories or experiencing active complex trauma. It is important to take cues from the students, meet each individual where they are, build trust for students to engage with mindfulness, and provide modifications for everyone to participate safely.
- Mindfulness helps us train our brains to be aware of our feelings, our bodies, and our environment in the present moment.
- Mindfulness can help both teachers and students to reduce stress and anxiety, strengthen attention and focus, support social and emotional growth, and better resolve the inevitable conflicts that arise.
- Research indicates that brain training involving mindfulness practices can “strengthen areas of the brain responsible for attention, emotional control, and problem solving… There is even emerging evidence that mindfulness-based brain training produces permanent structural changes in the brain.”
- Mindfulness work directly connects to Trauma Informed Teaching—more info can be found in the GIVE Trauma Informed Teaching resource.
Remote Teaching and Learning Tip:
The need for mindfulness work is as important in remote teaching and learning scenarios as it is in person. Many of the mindfulness practices in this resource will work well online. If you’re facilitating a remote residency or workshop, check out the rituals and routines section of the GIVE resource about remote teaching and learning using asynchronous content.
Mindfulness Through Breath
- Place your right hand on your belly and your left hand on your chest, feeling the gentle rise and fall of your breath. Count to three as you inhale, then count to three again as you exhale. Close your eyes, too, if that feels comfortable. Try mindful breathing first by yourself, and then include your students. They can pretend to inflate a balloon in their bellies, or you could use a Hoberman Sphere for a visual representation of the breath.
- Have students all inhale together as a group while you count out loud.
- Have students lift their arms as they inhale and then lower while exhaling.
- Invite students to close their eyes, or have a soft gaze while breathing.
- Note: Closed eyes can be triggering/uncomfortable for some people. Ensure that an option is always given to keep eyes open with soft gaze on the floor/neutral spot/etc.
- Invite students to hold their palms open on their lap while breathing together.