Transformation Starts With Being Transformed
“Having a creative classroom means that the teacher takes risks on a daily basis and encourages his/her students to do the same.”
—Pann Baltz, 1993 ATA Teacher of the Year as quoted in The Creative Classroom Project by Harvard’s Project Zero
On the last day of the Pages teacher workshop on Mindful Creativity, we spent some time talking about how mindfulness can be implemented in the classroom. There was some talk about the specific strategies, but what I ultimately ended up coming back to was: do it yourself. In order to teach mindfulness, it begins with experiencing the practice, benefits and struggles as a personal experience.
This is the one thing I liked most when I first started researching the teaching of mindfulness: part of teaching it, the main part, is doing it. Mindfulness is about transforming personal experience. Т Facilitating the process in others strengthens my own understanding of what it means to be present and to connect. In my opinion, and in the opinion of other experts whom I have read, this is really the way it is supposed to work.
Perhaps this same philosophy could also apply to the teaching of other things, too. Т So often teachers come into a chosen field with a passion for students and connection, but also a passion of the field in which they study. Somewhere along the line with the busyness of teaching, something gets cast to the side. In many cases it is the “creator” and the “doer” within us. In other words, it is the “self as creator and practitioner.”
Т Т Т How can I find time to write? I have all of these
Т Т Т papers to grade.
Т Т Т How can I find time to do art? I have planning to do.
Т Т Т How can I find time for silence? I have a million
Т Т Т student voices in my head, and my own children at
Т Т Т home, and a committee meeting tonight- the list goes
Т Т Т on.
How can I do this? Because I have to. It is part of the practice. Changes within lead to changes without; a transformed and engaged teacher is a transformed and engaged classroom.
Click here to go to the Learning Lab blog and read the rest of this post, including a “mindfulness quiz” and assignment that can be used for practitioners, teachers and students implementing mindful creativity or a more general mindfulness practice.
After being a part of this workshop, I have begun to explore my own mindfulness practice. As a true beginner, I have found a couple of useful resources that I thought I’d share!
1.) Stop, Breathe & Think
This app asks you to check in, identify some feelings and emotions, and then suggests a few different meditations you can choose from. I appreciated both the guidance and that there are options that respond to the way you are feeling.
2.) TED Talk by Andy Puddicombe on Mindfulness
I think some of this may be more useful to adults than students, but I think from about 5:43 on (it’s only a little over 9 minutes, total) may be helpful for anyone, including students. He uses juggling to helps viewers visualize some of the difficulties that may be encountered when first trying to meditate, and briefly discusses the benefits that 10 minutes of meditation a day may eventually provide. Useful for those of us who initially are a little frustrated with the process!
Thank you, Elise. It is awesome that you are continuing to explore mindfulness and as a practice and through research. Great resources!
If you are interested in additional meditation apps, I have been using Simply Being, which was the open monitoring practice we did together. I think Andrea is trying it, too.