Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Mindfulness in Education

What comprises an Education ecosystem? Simply put, it is 2 key things – lot of stakeholders and the delivery process. The list of stakeholders is long and keeps getting longer every session but if I have to identify few stakeholders that directly impact the education process then it would be the
Principal, the Teachers and the Learners. The policy makers are a notable exception to my
selection of key stakeholders but I have deliberately left them out to set the right context for the topic.

What is defining our education system in this age?  It is stress, anxiety, behavioral issues, aggression, depression, disrespect, high expectations, pressure to perform, barrage of information, redefining of roles for teacher and learners, decreased attention span, problem of plenty, … The list is long and can go on and on. 

Much of what I mentioned in the above paragraph is an outcome of our inability to pay attention to what lies in front of us. As educators and learners, we are constantly seeking more and more without realizing the limitations of human mind and body. The limitations in terms of our preparedness to deal with multi-tasking and with “more” in our lives. Talking education – in our bid to provide more and more (for reasons to do with quality or with fad), we are somehow losing on delivering the basic and the fundamental, both of which exist in the moment; in the present. The quantity seems to have overtaken quality in our approach and attitude. The result of all this is a haphazard and a half-hearted execution of the most crucial building block of our society i.e Education.    
courtesy: 7mindsets.com 
This is where Mindfulness comes to the rescue by teaching us to focus, pay attention, build self-control and live in the present moment. Mindfulness is a simple and easy technique (of course we need to practice it a bit J !) to get our attention and focus back to where it should be i.e. present moment, where we spend all our time. Education is all about humans and their attitude, actions, behavior and expectations so most of the issues mentioned earlier could be resolved by perceiving them and treating them at a human level. By enabling the concerned stakeholders to focus on the present (through mindfulness), we can make them more aware about the existing moment. Once we start operating in the present moment, most of the issues get resolved. Mindfulness could help resolve many of the fundamental challenges as mentioned below:

    • Issues pertaining to quality of lessons or effectiveness of teaching-learning process
    • Developing an efficient and productive teaching workforce
    • Building an organised workplace
    • Managing teachers, their expectations and their aspirations
    • Maintaining cooperative and collaborative work environment
    • Sustaining passion for teaching and deriving the best from the teachers
    • Creating proactive and quality mindset among the staff
    • Providing trusting leadership
    • Building classrooms conducive for learning
    • Managing all types learners, their behavior and their expectations
    • Delivering quality in institutional leadership and in teaching-learning practices
    • Maintaining the much needed professional – personal balance in all stakeholders
    • Delivering life-long learning to the learners and creating self-learning individuals 
The above checklist could is easily achievable by building a culture on Mindfulness which will build in the following skills within each stakeholder
  • Non-judgmental about events and people
  • Focused, Concentration, Fully present and paying undivided attention to the task at hand
  • Patience and Calmness to deal with any exigencies
  • Acceptance of thoughts and emotions within self and others
  • Ability to choose (prioritize), execute and close
  • Self-control
  • Giving the best to every moment and ensuring quality
  • Creative and innovative
A good resource on integrating mindfulness in education is available at the following link https://www.edutopia.org/article/mindfulness-resources 

I will be writing separate posts on how mindfulness impacts individual stakeholders like teachers and learners !    

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