I have always used meditation in the classroom, have experimented with Tai Chi and, more recently, have been doing a lot of Yoga with students. These things have a profound effect every time. However, despite the profound effects each individual time, there also needs to be a progression, the students and I need to know why we’re doing it and how it will have an impact on the way that we live.
Reading Bill and Ochan Powell’s book, “Becoming an Emotionally Intelligent Teacher”, I was reminded of the following quote:
“…humankind does not learn by experience but rather by reflection on experience”
Doing Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi or any other exercise that gives students the time and space to focus on themselves will never be a futile exercise. But, unless they are genuinely thinking about how such exercises may be impacting on their health, behaviour, relationships, mindfulness, ability to think and general well-being they will never truly maximise the potential of those experiences.
Each year, I try to develop my students’ ability to be more mindful about the way they behave. But in order for them to be able to understand that, we have to continue to discuss what mindfulness “looks like” in the different contexts of their lives. We need to set high standards for ourselves and to discuss how meditating can help us reach those standards. I expect to see evidence of such changes in my students in our classroom, in other lessons, moving around the school, interacting with other people and in the way they live their lives outside school. Only then can I be sure it’s no more than just a novelty activity in the class – meditate, then go right back to doing what we did before!!!