Disruptive behaviors can be a challenge for even the most seasoned teachers. Nearly all educators can relate to the experience of students talking over one another, not listening to instructions, or simply not engaging with the lesson. It isn’t uncommon for the classroom to occasionally get off track.
While it may seem like the only way to deal with these behaviors is to address them while they are happening, there are strategies that educators can use to minimize disruptions before they occur. With mindfulness, educators can lay the groundwork for positive behavior and give students the tools they need to remain in control of their emotions, actions, and behaviors.
Mindfulness in the classroom
You have likely heard the term mindfulness before, or maybe even engaged in mindful practices such as breathwork, meditation, or yoga, to name a few. Mindfulness can look like a number of different practices but ultimately is a way to help us bring awareness to the present moment, regulate our emotions, and practice self-control. But what role does mindfulness have in the classroom?
Students’ disruptive behaviors are often a result of their unregulated feelings and impulses. By teaching students mindfulness, we are giving them the tools they need to remain in control of their impulses and navigate the emotions they experience throughout the day. Additionally, mindfulness can lead to:
Reduced feelings of anxiety and depression
Improved academic performance
Increased social and emotional competence
Strengthened attention spans
Mindfulness creates a classroom environment where distraction and burnout are diminished so learning and achievement can thrive.
Making time for mindfulness
Once you decide to bring mindfulness into your classroom, the first thing to do is take a look at the schedule and consider where a few mindful moments might have the most impact. Maybe your students come back from recess unable to sit still or focus. Or maybe Monday mornings are a challenge for your class, as they adjust to school after the weekend. These instances are perfect opportunities to use a mindfulness activity to help your students reset, refocus, and remain in control of themselves.
“It’s really important for students to use mindfulness as they make those transitions, even if it’s just independently sitting at their desk and closing their eyes and taking a deep breath before the next lesson starts.” – Jill Collito, Fly Five Ambassador
School-based mindfulness programs, such as Fly Five’s The Mindful Student, offer ready-to-use lessons that support educators and guide instruction. The activities within these lessons vary depending on the grade level, and range from hands-on explorations to quiet reflections, allowing you to choose what works best for you and your students. With regular use, mindfulness practices become helpful tools that students can use whenever they need to reconnect with their body and mind.
Mindfulness empowers educators to foster a positive, safe, and relaxed classroom environment where stress is reduced rather than created. Educators who practice mindfulness with their students are also showing them that taking care of your well-being matters. Before students can show up ready to learn, they have to show up for themselves— one mindful moment at a time.