By: Brenda Perkins, Grade 8 Wellness Educator, Mindfulness Teacher
“b” and “.b Foundations” (UK) and Mindful Schools (US) certified
The Importance of Mindfulness
The “Culture of Care” is an important framework which guides International School Bangkok (ISB)’s attention to character development and social-emotional learning. As part of ISB’s mission to develop students who are caring, global citizens and who lead healthy, active and balanced lives, the Culture of Care is a way to attend to children’s needs through the development of social and emotional learning, core values, and mindful practices.
Perhaps you’ve heard about mindful practices or mindfulness on social media, have read articles about it, or even have personal experience with mindfulness. A quick google search returns over 2.4 million hits! With mindfulness being a mainstream word now, we wanted to shed some light on what we mean by ‘mindful practices’ at ISB!
Mindful Practices – What are they?
Mindfulness at ISB is defined as the ability to pay attention in the present moment without judgement.
There are three attentional skills working together which mindful practices support:
Concentration: The ability to focus on what you want, when you want.
Awareness: Increased knowledge of thoughts, emotions, senses, and behaviors as they are happening in our personal experience
Equanimity: The ability to let sensory and emotional experience come and go with an attitude of kind acceptance
Research into the science of mindfulness is very encouraging, and we know that many students report it being helpful to reduce stress and anxiety, good for awareness and relaxation, and are able to make better choices when they are emotionally activated.
What Do Students Think About Mindfulness?
As a mindfulness teacher, the voices of my own students’ experience are critical for reflecting on how the practice of mindfulness has impacted them. Here are some reflections of ISB students who practiced mindfulness for 10-minutes every other day during Grade 8 Wellness:
“Mindfulness really has an impact in my mind and it just helps me let go of all the stress and worries in my life.”
“Mindfulness has also improved my social life, it has helped me stay calm when I get angry and see the positive things that happen to me in life a lot better. “
“I think that Mindfulness is good because it teaches you how to focus better. I have been focusing better than before because I have been trying to notice when I have been drifting off in classes – it’s taught me a way to deal with myself being unfocused all the time. Learning mindfulness is now one of the more useful tools in my arsenal.”
These student reflections on mindful practices are a powerful reminder that developing mindfulness as one of many ‘tools’ in a students’ life toolbox can be very helpful for emotional well-being, making wise choices and learning to focus their attention. As with any teaching, it is important for teachers to be experienced and trained in teaching students Mindfulness. At ISB, teachers may be trained in the MindUp program, the Mindful Schools (U.S.-based) program, or the Mindfulness in Schools Project (.b or Paws b) (U.K.-based). There are over 60 teachers at ISB who have completed an Introduction to Mindfulness course, or participated in mindfulness professional development sessions over the past 3 years.
Please look out for the “Mindfulness 101 for Parents” session later this semester. If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.