We share evidence-based K-12 learning strategies that empower you to improve education.
I think that the political media and the social media play a huge role in what is wrong with our nation today. Everything you read about or see is blown out of proportion because they want to create gossip. They do this because gossip = viewers and viewers = money. That's what it's always about.
I have been meditating for the past 3 years or more. Not as faithfully as I would like but I feel that meditation has literally changed my life. The benefits occur over time, not right away, and require a devotion to a daily meditation practice.
I am less angry and less stressed and that will help me to deal with the "politics" of education. Plus, having the ability to stay in the present moment and to not allowing fear to rule me.
Of course, the most effective learning and teaching happens when all are present, interested, and engaged in the classroom. Too often, we have focused on quantity of knowledge/subject areas over quality of learning. I am a former classroom teacher who went back for my MA to learn contemplative techniques in educational and leadership environments. As the founder of the Maine Mindfulness Project, I have taught students ages 3-19 in public and private schools, as well as adults of all ages at colleges and interfaith settings. Not one person yet, even the biggest skeptics, has reported no gain at all.
Quite to the contrary, meditation is winning over new practitioners every time I teach. Let's keep it going for the positive transformation of self, family, community, and society.
Lisa V. Blake, MA
i think if teachers not only meditate but are busy with a lot of projects they have less time sor stress.
Meditation, exercise, diet, and proper sleep are the four ways to best reduce stress. Three out of four of these can be done during the work day, the fourth (sleep) is something most of us neglect but should not.
Remember this: How can we take care of our students if we don't take care of ourselves.
I repeat Lin's comment in part. She asked what is causing the stress, and I concur that fear is part of it. Meditation certainly does take one to a different level of feeling and viewpoint of the world around us, at least temporarily. Then we go to school and there's the stress again. Teachers deal with messages that their students must achieve more, must score higher, must cover more material, etc etc. I am not so sure that meditation can actually help in the long run. Personal worth and professionalism is being eroded away from our teachers. While "Racing to the Top," what new levels of stress will be placed on teachers and therefore transferred to students? The stressful race has the load of the world economy placed on the backs of our teachers - our kids must compete globally (say the headlines). What is a real stress reliever? When teachers are trusted to do their jobs, to be concerned with socializing their students, meeting basic needs of their students, helping their students find a path, an interest, a dream. The end of the day feels good when significant events have happened with kids in the classroom. Stressed teachers and stressed students tracking the clock and tracking the tests and tracking the data cannot be relived by meditation.
Of course I have the most fun possible in technology classes. That said, metitation is an excellent way to de-stress, however, one has to DO IT! Stress prevents one from finding time to meditate. Guided meditation is an easy form with a CD.
The larger question is what is causing the stress? I believe it is fear. Fear of what? To get at the source of stress one must address the fear that some my be ashamed to admit. Fear of the other teacher's ridicule? Fear of the principal? Fear of the children's parents? Fear they do not have the skills to do the job? Fear they are not getting enough support to be successful? It's a lonely job, like hoeing in ones vegtable garden and never being able to get ahead of the weeds.
Would access for the teachers to see the school counselor, say once a month, be a better option? The school counselor needs support also. To be a successful, joyous teacher, one needs a support team of teachers that meet each week to encourage and inspire each other.
Over 100,000 school children around the world have recently taken a course in meditation and have experienced better attention span and fewer behavioral problems. Teachers and all administrators I have coached have expressed a profound need to experience a "quiet mind" to improve the link between educational leadership and student achievement. Meditation practices can transcend cultural and religious biases, and can be viewed as a practice that is supported by hundreds of validated scientific research projects conducted at such places as Harvard Medical School and Standford, just to name two.
At home, I welcome each day by sitting on my pillow (meditating) before coming to school... In school, the children and I practice 2-3 minutes of yoga before beginning our class... I can't think of better ways to start our days of discovery together!
Meditation can definitely help teachers. My wife actually took part in a study where they took a handful of female teachers under high stress and put them through a meditation training. The data came from placing them in high stress situations before and after the training and a couple months of them doing their own practice. The results showed remarkable improvements across the board. Their are many benefits if done even 5 minutes a day that really could benefit everyone, but the results are extra apparent in high stress jobs like teaching. So, scientific studies have actually proven that yes, it can.
I actually think all schools should teach some level of mediation to students and have it integrated into the school day. I have no doubt that this would reduce the number of kids diagnosed with ADD, behavioral issues, and ability to focus in class in general.