Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Staying Cool At School

Staying Cool At School
Teachers who practise mindfulness are better able to reduce their own levels of stress and prevent burnout.
While teachers play a critical role in nurturing children's wellbeing, progress in addressing teacher stress has been elusive. Stress and burnout among teachers is a major concern for schools, affecting the quality of education and incurring increased costs in recruiting and sustaining teachers.
Mindful meditation is a technique to heighten attention, empathy and other pro-social emotions through awareness of thoughts, external stimuli, or bodily sensations such as breath. In a study published in the journal Mind, Brain and Education, a group of primary school teachers were trained in mindfulness and asked to practise a guided meditation at home for at least 15 minutes a day.
Specific to classroom
"We wanted to offer training that would be specifically relevant to their role as teachers," explains lead researcher Lisa Flook. “So they also learned specific strategies for preventing and dealing with stressors in the classroom, such as ‘dropping in’, the process of bringing attention to the sensations of breath and other physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions for brief periods of time. The training also included caring practices to bring kind awareness to their experiences, especially challenging ones.”
The results showed that those teachers who received the mindfulness training displayed reductions in psychological stress, improvements in classroom organisation and increases in self-compassion. Another interesting effect was that these teachers also spent more time getting students to notice how they were feeling, physically and emotionally, before reacting to something. “I think this act of self-monitoring was the biggest long-term benefit for both students and teachers," says Flook.

Source : Nature and Health



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