Does mindfulness have a place in schools?

This past year, I have become obsessed with yoga, meditation and mindfulness. I have been practicing yoga for a few years now, but I really delved deep into yoga this year after I suffered a fairly serious sports injury. I relied heavily on yoga and meditation to keep me active and sane when I was not able to do any type of rigorous physical activity. This time in my life forced me to take  a step back and re-evaluate what is important to me. I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick to yoga and meditation once I got better, but it turns out it has become a huge part of who I am in my personal life and in my professional life. For a long time I couldn’t explain why yoga, meditation and mindfulness is important to me. I knew it was important, but I couldn’t articulate it- and that bothered me because I love to talk.

I was reading a really insightful book over the winter break called “Braving the Wilderness” by Brené Brown. This book left me speechless many times. I would go to sleep after reading a chapter, and would be up for hours thinking about what I just read (that doesn’t happen often for me).

My favourite chapter is called “Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart.” In this chapter she recalls a experience with Dr. Joan Halifax- a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, activist, and author. She explains that they were doing an event together, and they were both feeling exhausted before the meet-and-greet. She was going despite her exhaustion when Dr. Halifax suggested that they should both take a break a rest. She explains:

“Tonight we will exhale and teach. Now it’s time to inhale. There is the in-breath and there is the out-breath, and it’s easy to believe that we must exhale all the time, without ever inhaling. But the inhale is absolutely essential if you want to continue to exhale”(p. 148).

When I read this, I realized that this was exactly my answer. Yoga has forced me to become a more balanced and thoughtful person. It was essential in my recovery, because it forced me to take time, let my mind relax, and to learn how to appreciate quietness.

This is also the reason why I think that yoga, mindfulness and meditation have a place in schools. Teaching students the skills to self-regulate and calm down will create a generation mentally strong and healthy people.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Classroom Without Tom

After Tom moving schools I looked at the classroom dynamic. I was shocked to see the difference that it made. Work blocks were quieter, support time was less, and the students all worked well together with no complaints about each other. Tom moving had completely changed the dynamic of this classroom which made me think is this for better?

There are students within this class that had been in the same classroom as Tom since kindergarten, this meant six years of “interruptions” within their learning. These students were now old enough to acknowledge that they could not learn with his interruptions and they were being vocal about it within the classroom. As much as my sponsor and Tom’s support teacher worked with him on not interrupting, it was very hard for Tom to understand that his actions were disruptive.

This made me question a lot about inclusion. I ask myself if it is better that Tom is no longer in this classroom but rather in a classroom that can cater to his needs. I ask this because he was such a great asset to my grade six, seven practicum class. Tom added an exciting aspect to the classroom, he always had exciting facts to share, and loved to follow along with reading. There were many positive aspects to having him within the classroom but I question if he was meeting his full potential. I question inclusion because he could not successfully be in the classroom for a full day causing my sponsor to have to remove him from the classroom. Once removed from the classroom he is now not included, this makes me question “did we try everything”. At the end of the day we could not accommodate what he needed because he was not successfully learning.

I am constantly questioning if his move was the right thing to do. The school all seemed on board to supporting him make the move. The classroom has now had a positive change which can be seen through group work, independent work, and the playground. If there has been such a positive impact is this the best move, is it morally right, does Tom feel excluded? I am looking forward to learning more about inclusion in order to answer a few of the questions I am having.

Posted in Uncategorised

The Classroom Without Tom

After Tom moving schools I looked at the classroom dynamic. I was shocked to see the difference that it made. Work blocks were quieter, support time was less, and the students all worked well together with no complaints about each other. Tom moving had completely changed the dynamic of this classroom which made me think is this for better?

There are students within this class that had been in the same classroom as Tom since kindergarten, this meant six years of “interruptions” within their learning. These students were now old enough to acknowledge that they could not learn with his interruptions and they were being vocal about it within the classroom. As much as my sponsor and Tom’s support teacher worked with him on not interrupting, it was very hard for Tom to understand that his actions were disruptive.

This made me question a lot about inclusion. I ask myself if it is better that Tom is no longer in this classroom but rather in a classroom that can cater to his needs. I ask this because he was such a great asset to my grade six, seven practicum class. Tom added an exciting aspect to the classroom, he always had exciting facts to share, and loved to follow along with reading. There were many positive aspects to having him within the classroom but I question if he was meeting his full potential. I question inclusion because he could not successfully be in the classroom for a full day causing my sponsor to have to remove him from the classroom. Once removed from the classroom he is now not included, this makes me question “did we try everything”. At the end of the day we could not accommodate what he needed because he was not successfully learning.

I am constantly questioning if his move was the right thing to do. The school all seemed on board to supporting him make the move. The classroom has now had a positive change which can be seen through group work, independent work, and the playground. If there has been such a positive impact is this the best move, is it morally right, does Tom feel excluded? I am looking forward to learning more about inclusion in order to answer a few of the questions I am having.

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Inquiry Video

A short introductory video explaining and exploring my inquiry question.

Key Topic of Interest and Context:                                                                                          How can I use technology to effectively teach atypical learners to read?

Central​ ​Inquiry​ ​Question:
How can we integrate assistive technology to teach reading to diverse learners in an inclusive classroom

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