Research into Mindfulness
The Impact of Teaching Systematic Mindfulness with Kindergarteners who are Undergoing Stress
Jennifer M. Wade
Many new studies on the brain are able to identify and monitor the damaging effects that stress has on the brain. In a 21st Century classroom where the teacher is challenged to bring the instruction to the student’s mind, often the child’s mind is not prepared for the work as they are being negatively affected by what is happening outside of the classroom. The practice of educators to instruct the students to be mindful of their environment, body and ultimately thinking, is an instructional method that has yet to establish its overall effectiveness in the kindergarten classroom. This case study was of two male students, ages five and six. These students struggled to focus, follow directions, stay on task and learn new information in the classroom setting. This research gathered data from language arts assessments conducted with and without mindfulness practice. Students did a self evaluation before and after the use of mindfulness lessons.
STATE THE PROBLEM
The observed problem is that students are unable to participate in active listening exercises, recall information, or stay on task due to attention deficits that are heightened due to stresses that exist outside of the classroom and this has a direct effect on their academic success. The problem may be related to the stress that is causing the students harm and impeding their learning. One known way to relieve stress and to focus the mind is the practice of meditation.
PURPOSE OF THE PROJECT
The purpose of this study was not quieting students but rather bringing the entire mind to the task of learning. The intent of mindfulness practice is to calm the body and mind, make one aware of their surroundings, and help to focus the mind on certain ideas or activities. This study is particularly relevant when considering the need for meta-cognition in the practice of teaching and learning in the 21st Century classroom. The goal of this study is to determine the effects of mindfulness training on students who need help to focus their minds while learning. In consideration of the negative effects of chronic stress as it is related to memory, focus, social interactions, and self-esteem, this study attempts to explore a tool, mindfulness, to aid in the reduction of that stress.
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