MINDFULNESS IN EDUCATION
Jan Grigg is a qualified PGCE Biology/Science Teacher and has taught in a Large Secondary School in Morayshire since 2001. She has been sharing Mindfulness Practices with young people for 20 years. IN 1998-2000 she was the Headteacher of a Secondary school and introduced Mindfulness practices to this school with the support of the local community.
Jan has since taught 4000 Secondary aged pupils Mindfulness practices and conducted her Masters in Mindfulness Studies writing her thesis on research she conducted on the 'Effects of Mindfulness on the Health and Wellbeing of Secondary Pupils in Scottish Secondary Schools'
If you would like Jan to come and speak to your school management team, Guidance staff, Mental Health Team, please contact Jan by email.
BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS IN THE CLASSOOM
Jan introduced Mindfulness into her classroom practice to over 4000 pupils ranging in age from 12-18 years. During research for her Masters in Mindfulness Degree (2013) she studied the effects of Mindfulness practices on her pupils and found that most pupils (94% of random samples of 180 pupils) enjoyed the practices and felt calmer, more present and more able to carry out their learning in the classroom. They also reported feeling that the class got on better as a group and that there was less conflict and a calmer atmosphere.
Jan has conducted this research over several years and each year the findings are more positive, as she is more confident guiding, and the reputation in the school has been built up (its pretty cool) with new pupils arriving at the classroom excited to try the 'Chillout' practices.
Benefits to Health and Wellbeing
In the final year of her research Jan researched and designed a 6 week Mindfulness curriculum based on her practices in the classroom and using research from around the world The course is called MIndKind. It is a short course of 6 hours and was delivered over 6 consequetive weeks to S1 (age 12-13) and S2 (age 13-14) mixed gender pupils in two local Secondary Schools. The reseluts of the research showed that the courses were well tolerated by the pupils and that most pupils found the course helpful in terms of increased calmness and relaxation. The staff who took part in the research also reported feeling calmer and more relaxed and that they were postive about the intervention and thought it was of potential benfit to the pupils.
If you would like to find out more about this Masters research thesis you can contact Jan on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to know more about the Masters in Mindfulness Degree please visit University of Aberdeen
TRAINING IN MINDFULNESS TO TEACH YOUNG PEOPLE
It is generally understood in the Mindfulness Teaching Community that if you would like to teach Mindfulness to others it is important to develop your own personal Mindfulness Practice first. The UK Mindfulness Teachers Network Guidelines give clear guidance on this issue. It is very important that if you would like to teach others that you seek an experienced trainer and enrol on an 8 week Mindfulness Training course yourself and develop an understanding of Mindfulness from the inside out. This is not something that can be taught from theory alone. Research suggest that when Mindfulness is taught by someone who 'embodies' the practices themselves the training is much more effectively 'transmitted' to the group of students.
You can find out more about Mindfulness in Schools here;
There is a new SQA Qualification for supporting young people with Mindfulness
SHORT MINDFULNESS PRACTICES IN THE CLASSROOM
Jan has been using Short Mindfulness Practices (SMP in the Biology/ Science Secondary classroom for 14 years. It is a very popular way to start the lesson. Jan is very careful not to impose these practices onto the pupils and has found short practices which support pupils to calm down, be more relaxed and to be more present in the classroom. She feels this really helps pupils to settle, be more positive in their behaviour and increases the interpersonal connections within the class. Even 'difficult' or challenging classes of pupils have learned to settle and reduce habitual conflict by practsing Mindfulness.
Jan guides the pupils in the practices for 5-7 minutes and finds it is well worth taking this short time as there are definitely less behaviour problems after this settling down at the start of the lesson.
Practices which are useful
1. Short Body Scan
2. My Favourite Place Meditation
3. Going on a Quick Holiday
4. Three Minute Breathing Space
5. Mindful Movement
6. Mindful Walking around classroom
7. Mindful Connection with Kindness
Jan is very intuitive when deciding which practice to use with a group of pupils-she can sense which practice will 'balance' the energy of the group-they might need energising or calming. Each practice is tailored to the needs of the group as a whole and takes into account the needs of indvidual learners.
It is interesting to note that many pupils who have learning difficulties request these practices as they understand after a very short time that these practices can help them to be more balanced. Jan has noticed in particular that pupils with Aspergers and Autism are generally very positive about the benfits of the practices and can articulate the benefits well when asked.