Mindfulness

In August, I will be taking up a new post at Phuket International Academy Day School (PIADS), teaching Humanities and English in the Middle Years Program.   We are excited for many reasons – the new adventure, the new chapter in a winding career, the sand, and – not the least – the opportunity to connect mindfulness in the classroom.   PIADS is doing ground-breaking work in this area and I’m excited to join that process.

Over the next months, I will hone my own practice and prepare for my approach to students and colleagues.    I will use this space to collect and collate some resources on mindfulness in and out of school.   Further suggestions are most welcome!

Here is a good start:  Jon Kabat-Zinn bringing definition to mindfulness:

I also found this overview by Amy Saltzman helpful for teachers.  

Mindfulness: An Overview for Teachers, By Dr. Amy Saltzman

 What Is Mindfulness?

While there are many definitions of mindfulness, the one we focus on with children is from Susan Kaiser Greenland: Mindfulness is paying attention with kindness and curiosity to yourself, other people and the world around you. (PIADS addition) We ask students to “pay attention” dozens of times a day, yet we never teach them how. The practice of mindfulness teaches students how to pay attention, and this way of paying attention enhances both academic and social-emotional learning.

As human beings we have the unique capacity to pay attention to/be aware of our internal and external worlds and the interactions between the two. We can attend to the breath, the body, thoughts, emotions, tastes, smells, sights, sounds, and our impulses and actions and their effects on others and our environment. This ability to pay attention is a natural, innate human capacity. One does not need to be of any particular belief system to pay attention in this way, any more than one needs to be Italian to enjoy pizza.

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