Teaching young mindfulness

Can mindfulness change students behaviour?

Mindfulness is big at the moment, in clinical practice, popular culture and in many workplaces, as a way of dealing with stress and increasing cognitive performance by shutting out distractions and focusing our attention to ourselves and our feelings.

It has its own apps, TED talks and millions of followers worldwide. In a world where we’re deluged with information 24/7, it’s seen as a powerful tool to help decrease anxiety and increase positive moods.

But can these benefits improve students’ behavior in schools?

Brian Resnick, a science reporter writing for Vox, not only looks at the origins of mindfulness as a movement, but its use in schools as a means of improving behaviour and mental health.

Some schools are even trying it as an alternative approach to discipline.

While anecdotally, some officials are reporting a reduction in the number of overall suspensions, Resnick questions the evidence base for such claims. He suggests that it’s still in an experimental phase and that its main benefits could be teaching kids to be self-aware.

For those who have heard of Mindfulness but may not know exactly what it is, this is a well-researched summary of the aims, supposed outcomes and some of the studies of the phenomenon.

Photo: School replaced detention with meditation with thanks to TW Smith via Flickr


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