How to Introduce Meditation to the High School Classroom?
Students can focus better if they set aside time for thought and introspection. The 29 students in my first-period English class are slowly making their way into the classroom at 7:50 a.m. There is vibrant discussion, laughter, frantic coffee sips, and, of course, cell phones in practically every student’s hands. However, when the bell sounds and attendance is taken, this energetic bunch of 12th graders grudgingly put their phones down, wait for a brief instruction from me, and then do something unexpected. They are meditating.
The room of boisterous and often rowdy kids becomes so motionless and silent that you could hear a pin drop.
It simply takes a few minutes and completely transforms the atmosphere in my classroom. It is, at the absolute least, a constructive method to prepare kids for the start of class. At its finest, it’s a game-changing strategy for reducing student fear, increasing attention and awareness, and cultivating emotional regulation and empathy.
The benefits aren’t only for children; it’s also a simple but effective technique for instructors to reduce stress, be more present at work, and rediscover the true love of teaching.
In a high school classroom, what does meditation look like? What is the best way to present it to your students? How do you encourage them to buy in? How do you manage your time?
1.) Build Belief
The emphasis on standardized test results, data-driven education, and accountability measures may be daunting and discouraging for many instructors. Researchers Dennis Shirley and Elizabeth MacDonald used the term “alienated teaching” to describe the type of teaching that occurs when instructors feel compelled to follow external demands that they did not choose and that they inwardly oppose because the rules do not benefit their pupils.
Teachers can use mindful teaching to overcome the consequences of alienated teaching and reclaim their own practice’s integrity and efficacy. There is no one-size-fits-all regimen or formula to follow, but there are several effective approaches.
This strong confidence in the power of mindful teaching is evident in the brief daily meditation outlined below. Teachers must feel that slowing down to breathe and reflect may enhance teaching and learning circumstances for meditation to be effective in the classroom.
2.) Make A Strategy
Find your unique voice. Watch a video of a teacher conducting a meditation or, if feasible, observe a teacher leading a classroom meditation after reading about how teachers practice meditation in their classrooms. Then, in keeping with your teaching voice, write a simple prompt.
I’ve experimented with wording and tone for my prompt throughout the last ten years, always attempting to remain genuine in my teaching approach.
Confidence, consistency, and brevity have proven to be highly crucial to me. My prompt is straightforward and brief:
“Hello, class.” I hope everyone is having a wonderful morning. “Are you ready for our meditation?” says the narrator. (There is a little pause.) “Now, everyone, please select a comfortable seat, roll your shoulders slowly, sit up straight, fold your hands in front of you on your desk, and place both feet flat on the floor.” Let’s take a deep breath in via our nose, hold it for a count of one, two, three, and then exhale through our mouth. Deep inhale, hold for a count of 1, 2, 3, exhale, and gently close your eyes. For a few minutes, try to relax and clear your thoughts.”
After a few minutes, I calmly and softly stopped the meditation by saying, “Thank you.” Set aside five minutes at the start of each session once you’ve developed your prompt and agreed on a start date.
3.) Students Who Are Inspired
Explain to the class on the first day that they would be conducting a brief quiet meditation every day and that there is a growing body of evidence that meditation may be an effective tool for combating stress and improving focus. Share studies on the science of meditation, particularly how it relaxes the central nervous system and promotes oxygenation, which may be beneficial to kids right away.
Meditation is an excellent technique to reduce stress and anxiety, enhance concentration and attention, and even help pupils better control their emotions, according to research.
So that students have materials at their fingertips, I built a folder in my Google Classroom where I share these articles, as well as a brief primer. This appears to be especially crucial for high school students, who appear to be considerably more willing to adopt this technique if they can see proof that it works. That first day, meditate to demonstrate the technique.
4.) Every Day, Practice And Reflect
Encourage kids to broaden their practice and share their experiences as the school year develops. Students should read and reply to articles on this topic. Solicit their help in teaching other pupils how to meditate and reflect on their practice.
This little, easy technique has the potential to make a big impact on any classroom. I’ve discovered that the peaceful, quiet period following meditation is ideally suited for honest dialogue in the decade that I’ve been meditating with my classes. It helps me connect with my pupils and create the tone for my lesson.
Meditation, like most things we do in school and life, improves with practice. Consistency is key, so make meditation a part of your classroom’s daily routine.
About the article
Meditation is an excellent technique to reduce stress and anxiety, enhance concentration and attention, and even assist pupils in better controlling their emotions, according to research. In this article, we discussed how to introduce meditation to the high school classroom.
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