Teachers are turning to a practice known as Mindful Teaching to help with stress and classroom management.
Randi Jo Taurel and Rebecca Brenner are showing teachers mindfulness techniques for classroom management which keep the chaos to a minimum. When students are shouting and being disruptive, many teachers yell. But they recommend ringing a soft bell. They have taught mindfulness in the Park City School District for several years, and have developed quick and simple techniques.
Techniques include ringing a bell until every child raises their hand by the end of the ring, or focusing on individual parts of the body. “It’s something where they can take a short time, find their breath and then begin with a more focused and present feeling,” Taurel said. “It’s for the teachers and the students. They can begin together.”
The idea is to cultivate presence and awareness in the minds of the students, who can then better access the learning center in their pre-frontal cortex.
“When we don’t learn that skill, we’ll just have an emotion and it spills out everywhere. Kids get in trouble and teachers react,” said Brenner. “(Instead), let’s take a few mindful breaths, let’s find our mindful bodies and let’s work with that frustration in a skillful way.”