Educators - Shanti Generation

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Benefits of Mindful Classroom Practices

As an educator, you understand the importance of health and well being in the learning process. The connection is clear. Students who are focused, centered, and relaxed simply learn better. Helping students learn to deal effectively with stress is key to their personal and educational success. In fact, just a few minutes of mindfulness exercises each day have demonstrated remarkable improvements in the lives of students both in and out of the classroom.

Recent research* shows that students who participate in a mindfulness program demonstrate improved social and classroom behavior over their counterparts who do not participate in a mindfulness program. Educators report that mindful students demonstrate:

  • Improved optimism
  • Enhanced social and classroom behavior
  • Heightened confidence and self-image
  • Enriched attention and concentration
  • Increased emotional regulation
  • Reduced aggression and opposition

Additional studies** show that mindfulness practices have the following benefits:

  • Reduced negative thoughts and depression
  • Decreased stress and anxiety
  • Improved memory
  • Enhanced focus and listening skills
  • Heightened cognitive flexibility
  • Enriched communication skills
  • Developed self-awareness
  • Augmented impulse control
  • Increased morality, compassion, and empathy

Teachers also report that mindfulness exercises are easy to implement and that students are eager to participate daily activities.

*Lawlor, M.S. and Schonert-Reichl, K.A. The effects of a mindfulness-based education program on pre- and early adolescents’ well-being and social and emotional competence. Springer Science + Business Media, 2010.
**Davis, D.M., PhD, and Hayes, J.A. PhD. What are the benefits of mindfulness. American Psychological Association. American Psychological Association, July 2012. Web.

Integrating Mindfulness in the Classroom

The Shanti Generation Mindfulness Curriculum provides teachers with more than 40 exercises designed exclusively for the classroom. Each technique takes less than three minutes and focuses on enhancing physical, mental, emotional, and cognitive wellness. The exercises are designed as transition activities at the beginning or end of class, before or after a test, before or after recess, or just about anytime the class needs to refocus and reconnect. Activities are based around the following core contemplative practices:

  • Mindfulness: Simply put, mindfulness is being aware of what is happening, as it is happening.
  • Postures and Movement: Yoga-based postures and movements are specifically designed to elicit beneficial classroom responses and behaviors.
  • Breathing: Simple breathing exercises energize, balance, or calm.
  • Connection Circles: Students work together to enhance communication skills, improve relationships, and build connections.
  • Visualizations and Imagery: Guided exercises awaken creativity to enrich learning in all subject areas.
  • Expression: Writing exercises help students find the deepened meaning in all exercises.

In just three minutes a day, students can achieve positive results in their academic, social, physical, and emotional well-being. Interactive DVDs, support manuals, and lesson plans provide everything a teacher needs to integrate the Shanti Generation Mindfulness Curriculum into a classroom quickly and easily.

 

Guidelines for Using DVD’s {PDF}

Get the Daily Mindfulness Practice Worksheet Free in our Mindful Educators Toolkit

 

Introducing Mindfulness to Students/Parents

We know it can be intimidating to try something new in the classroom. That’s why we designed our curriculum to make the work of teachers easier while creating an environment that engages and empowers students. The best part? The Shanti Generation curriculum not only improves social, emotional, and physical well-being. Teachers report improved academic performance as well.

Here are our tips for successfully introducing a mindfulness program into your classroom:

  1. Let the families know. We’ve provided a downloadable letter and Frequently Asked Questions handout that will introduce your families to mindfulness and show them how their children will benefit from the program. You may want to have families experience a guided imagery or relaxation exercises at Back to School Night or Open house so they can learn about the practices firsthand.
  2. Start small. It may take a few sessions for students to grow accustomed to the breathing and self-awareness activities. Be patient, and stick with it. Repeat the introductory activities until all students completely understand the foundations of mindfulness.
  3. Be consistent. The more frequently and regularly you use our exercises, the more your students and classroom will benefit. As students become familiar with the techniques, they will look forward to their daily exercises.
  4. Have fun with it. As students become familiar with the activities, invite them to take turns leading the exercises. They can create their own guided imagery activities, movement exercises, or writing prompts.

 

Sample Letter to Families {PDF}

 

Frequently asked questions:

Q: What is mindfulness?

A: Some people describe mindfulness as meditation, being present in the moment, or listening to one’s self. In the Shanti Generation curriculum, mindfulness is a simple but profound practice of relaxation, self-awareness, breathing, and gentle movement.

Q: What are the benefits of mindfulness in the classroom?

A: Extensive research shows that students who participate in mindfulness enjoy the following benefits:

  • Improved mood, confidence, and self-image
  • Enhanced social and classroom behavior
  • Decreased stress and anxiety
  • Enriched attention and concentration
  • Improved memory, focus, and listening skills
  • Heightened cognitive function
  • Increased impulse control
  • Reduced aggression and opposition
  • Enriched communication skills
  • Developed self-awareness
  • Reduced negative thoughts and depression
  • Increased morality, compassion, and empathy
  • Decreased bullying

Q: Will this take time away from work in the core subjects?

A: Each mindfulness exercise takes just three minutes or less. Teachers have reported that using mindfulness exercises helps increase focus, attention, positive behavior, and academic performance.

Q: If classrooms are for learning, what exactly is my child learning from mindfulness exercises?

A: Students learn self-awareness, self-control, and important lifelong skills for managing stress.

Q: Is mindfulness connected to religion?

A: The Shanti Generation curriculum is not connected to or derived from any religion. The techniques and exercises can be used by anyone regardless of cultural or religious background.

Q: When will these exercises be used?

A: Mindfulness exercises are designed to be used as a transition activity either at the beginning or end of class, before or after a test, or before or after recess. Various activities help students relax, quiet the mind, focus, think, or boost energy levels. We choose activities carefully to elicit the desired result.

Q: What are the movement activities like?

A: The Shanti Generation curriculum uses gentle yoga-based movements either alone or with a partner. Movements are simple and are designed to increase flexibility, strength, self-confidence, and connections with other students.

Q: My child has a behavioral disorder. Will he or she still be able to participate in the program?

A: Children with behavioral disorders can benefit immensely from the exercises by learning to be aware of their own mental, emotional, and physical states.

 

Practices for Teachers

 

Practices for Students