Traditional education has expired because its methods do not work anymore. Students access the Internet when they need answers to their questions, so average homework and approaches to learning are useless and boring to them. Mindfulness education changes the world of education daily to help students understand the value of knowledge here and right now. No wonder it has gained significant recognition in recent years.
Due to the pleasant environment and flexible teaching approaches, it provides a positive impact on personal growth and learning. It excludes judgment and involves consciousness and full awareness of learners at the very moment of teaching. Parallelly, contemplative education adjusts various contemplative practices to the learning experience. Here we will explain the significance of mindfulness in education and its transformative effects on individuals.
Understanding Mindfulness and Contemplative Education
Before speaking about the benefits of contemplative education, you should understand the meaning of the words “mindfulness” and “contemplative” regarding the educational process.
What is the definition of mindfulness?
Simply put, mindfulness helps students understand their thoughts, feelings, things surrounding them, and sensations of their bodies step by step. Moreover, nobody imposes this knowledge because learners acquire experience through different pleasant and soothing practices, including:
- body scans
- breathing exercises
In other words, students do not hurry and spend enough time relaxing. They dive into their inner wellness and get the most out of it.
What is contemplative education?
Let’s address the contemplative practice definition. Contemplative teaching and learning are about concentrating on the critical elements in the classroom without delaying complex things for individual homework. Students should pay maximum attention to classroom activities and not get distracted by environmental irritators.
Today, more educators use meditations to help learners achieve better results without excessive control and constant reminding. They use mindfulness practices to let students reach the following goals while studying:
- discover themselves, including hidden potentials and desires
- understand the goals and means of their achievement deeper
- be ready to reflect on themselves
- develop empathy and compassion
- research their psychological world (apply principles of introspection)
What is the difference between contemplation and meditation?
People often use these notions as synonyms, though there is a difference between them.
Medication is about methods one uses to slow down and dive into oneself to focus on one problem, theory, or notion at a time.
Contemplation is how a person thinks to analyze and reflect on personal experiences. In other words, a person should meditate to be able to develop this way of thinking. With its help, a person finds the core of the problem and solves it effectively because the goals and aids meet their interests. Moreover, such thinking is stressless, and thinkers associate the discovered solution with something pleasant and achievable.
Educators add contemplative approaches to curriculum and pedagogy through mindful classroom environments. They also integrate mindful practices into their students’ daily routines. Thanks to that, students develop self-awareness, emotional intelligence, resilience, and overall well-being.
Mindfulness in the Classroom
As it has been said, incorporating contemplative practice in the classroom is beneficial. Mindfulness helps improve the focus, attention, and concentration of students because each is better engaged with the learning material. It also enhances creativity and problem-solving skills by fostering a non-judgmental and open-minded mindset. How does it happen?
|Features to develop||Methods|
|Concentration||Students focus on something they like or need to understand. Teachers usually ask to use one of the five senses (sight, touch, taste, smell, or sound). It can be music or sounds of nature, watching the sunrise, touching or smelling something with closed eyes, etc.|
|Creativity||Meditation helps to switch off unnecessary thoughts and create a positive environment inside one’s head and soul. For example, teachers can ask students to go for a slow walk or listen to soft music to reach calmness and clarity.|
|Attention||Usually, teachers use guided meditation to help students experience a flow state. It means both body and mind must be deeply absorbed and interconnected without being distracted by environmental factors. Teachers use soft lights and ask students to switch off mobile phones and other gadgets. Besides, the air and room temperature must be comfortable.|
Moreover, mindfulness practices let educators create a positive and inclusive learning environment. They promote empathy, compassion, and active listening. Due to that, students build stronger connections with their peers and develop a sense of belonging within the classroom community.
Benefits of Contemplative Education
What is the main problem of struggling students? Most of them suffer from neurological disorders caused by stressful situations. According to statistics, 47% of American students have sleeping disturbance, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, or bipolar disorders. Consequently, they cannot relax and let their brains and bodies rest. Lack of sleep and stress lead to exhaustion. Consequently, students have zero energy to seek motivation and create.
Another obstacle in a student’s life is noise. Gadgets, cars, and other noises prevent learners from properly concentrating. Most students fail their home assignments because they cannot switch their attention, so they get distracted by the irritating sounds. Things become more challenging when you share the room with peers who have their habits and can do their routine duties while you try to write an essay, understand the content of the book, or memorize information.
Contemplative education offers numerous benefits for students beyond the development of mindfulness skills. Mindfulness education develops resilience, helping students handle challenges. They can easier adapt to changes and preserve a clear mind without panic disorders. Besides, such education stimulates ethical decision-making skills because it encourages students to reflect on their values, intentions, and the consequences of their actions.
Furthermore, contemplative learning has a long-term impact on personal and professional self-development. It stimulates the development of self-awareness, emotional control, and empathy. They are crucial skills for building healthy relationships and contributing positively to society. Instead of fast-achieving goals, students are able to plan things for years and improve the world.
Can you imagine a world where each decision is based on sympathy and ethical principles? Contemplative meditation is a tool for a healthy environment and a strong mind in a strong body. A student must answer the question, “What do I want, indeed?” The decision must be made independently, without the influence of parents and teachers. That’s why it works.
Faculty Training and Support
Recent research proves teaching is the most stressful job. Teachers have to deal with different individuals and find an individual approach to every student. Moreover, they often have to talk to parents of struggling students and solve disputes with colleagues and bosses. Finally, they must manage their private life and constant self-education to satisfy the needs of a fast-changing society. Eventually, meditation might help them stay focused and positive.
However, implementing mindfulness and contemplative education requires adequate training and support for educators. Faculty training programs provide educators with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary for in-class meditations. They aim to create a collaborative and supportive environment for students and themselves. This technique encourages non-stop professional development and ensures the effective integration of mindfulness into the educational experience.
Consequently, educators need to learn the following things to achieve career success:
- What is contemplative practice?
- How should they use it in real life?
- What methods are effective for concrete age groups?
- What is their best meditation practice?
- How can medication help them cope with problems without getting angry with their boss and students?
- How should they meditate at work to manage their daily load and stay positive at home?
Faculty training and support are significant. Only knowledgeable and well-balanced individuals can be excellent teachers. Students respect those who are always ready to support them and help them develop the required skills to become true professionals without stress.
Research and Evidence
Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of mindfulness and contemplative education in improving student well-being, academic performance, and social-emotional skills. Research highlights the positive impact of mindfulness on stress reduction, attention development, and emotional regulation.
Evidence proving the positive effect of contemplation meditation on students
Regarding Researchgate research, contemplation meditation positively influences students’ college achievements. 1797 participants practiced meditation, and 61% experienced significant progress in their studies. According to the analysis, the statistic could be better if educators were more aware of the proper techniques. The curriculum and such program elements as duration, type of instructors, and frequency of practice resulted in adverse outcomes. All in all, students managed to succeed in many disciplines thanks to positive thinking, better cognitive functions, and enhanced emotional regulation.
Another experiment was conducted by Boston educators who tested six-graders. Participants practiced medications at classes for eight weeks and were less stressed and more successful than their peers who did not meditate. They were able to focus on the target and comprehend the material due to their improved learning abilities and positive emotional state.
Evidence proving the positive effect of contemplation meditation on educators
Harvard researchers stress the importance of meditation courses for teachers. Based on their experiences, teachers who meditate are emotionally stable and help students understand their perspectives. They are more effective in the classroom because they know how to cope with stress and stay creative despite environmental obstacles.
Furthermore, the growing body of evidence in this field underscores the potential of mindfulness and contemplative practices to transform education and enhance the overall learning experience. That is why more schools aim to integrate mindfulness and contemplation into their teaching methodology.
Student Experiences and Testimonials
We decided to investigate review websites to learn more about mindfulness meditation from the real-life experience of students from around the globe. Quora.com is filled with positive testimonials, and we introduce some of them here.
- Timothy James started practicing mindfulness at the age of 12 to manage his anxiety and OCD. First, it was hard because of his psychological disorders. Instead of focusing, he just tried to stop his flow of thoughts which negatively impacted his well-being. When he mastered the proper technique, he became a positive thinker and better learner as he got As in all exams. He became more self-confident and found more friends. Now, he enjoys his life to full.
- Khurshed Batliwala managed to become wiser, happier, healthier, and more prosperous thanks to meditation. She believes that mindfulness and contemplative education are the paths to being human.
- Caroline J. started her meditation story by joking, ‘Did you hear about the guy that joined ‘Mindfulness Anonymous’? He said, ‘My name is Michael, and I’ve been stuck in the present moment for 6 months straight.’ She decided to research and attend meditation classes at her school, which was quite new, and her classmates did not understand her weird choice. First, she fell asleep because she didn’t understand the technique. Eventually, she better understood herself and improved her GPA. Soon, all her class friends ‘stuck in the presence’)))
There are many examples, but you should read them independently to realize the value of meditations in education and personal life.
Mindfulness Beyond the Classroom
Mindfulness and contemplative practices are influential beyond the classroom. They support self-care and well-being for both students and educators. These practices offer tools for stress reduction, self-reflection, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Moreover, mindfulness can contribute to positive societal change and social justice efforts. It fosters empathy, compassion, and awareness of one’s role in the world.
Mindfulness is not only meditation. It is the best way to understand your wishes, goals, and strengths that make you unique and happy.
Mindfulness in education is not new, but its effect is impressive. Mindfulness is your way to self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and overall well-being. The benefits extend beyond the classroom, supporting personal growth, resilience, and positive societal change. It helps students improve their life and educational progress and nurtures overall holistic development. Explore and incorporate mindfulness and contemplative practices into your educational journey and enjoy the possibilities they provide you with.