Mindful students

Mindfulness training — also known as “talk yoga” — is a new idea in classrooms, reports the New York Times.

During a five-week pilot program at Piedmont Avenue Elementary, Miss Megan, the “mindful” coach, visited every classroom twice a week, leading 15 minute sessions on how to have “gentle breaths and still bodies.” The sound of the Tibetan bowl reverberated at the start and finish of each lesson.

. . . It seemed alternately loved and ignored, as students in Ms. Graham’s fifth-grade class tried to pay attention to their breath, a calming technique that lasted 20 seconds. Then their coach asked them to “cultivate compassion” by reflecting on their emotions before lashing out at someone on the playground.

Tyran Williams defined mindfulness as “not hitting someone in the mouth.”

I seem to remember elementary teachers telling us to take a few deep breaths when angry and think before acting. We didn’t have a coach, however.

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  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Why not bring back the kindergarten nap?

  2. BadaBing says:

    Oh, those kinniegarden knaps were just the thing. We all had our own wooden pallet and we’d lie down on them side by side for a much needed downtime and wake up (yes, I fell asleep) feeling like a new person. I still take them to this day.

  3. “Be mindful”

    That’s always the advice given by Jedi & Sith to their apprentices.

    “Be mindful of your feelings, young Skywalker”

    “Lord Maul, be mindful. Let them make the first move”

    “Be mindful, Billy. Truancy; not studying; the path to welfare, that is!”

  4. So, Tibetan bowls and talk yoga are fine and dandy, but “moments of silence” and student prayer are not? Doesn’t this fall under “government endorsement of religion?”

  5. Cardinal Fang says:

    Here’s the kind of thing the yoga teacher is teaching: relaxation, reflection, sitting quietly without moving, thinking before acting, listening to chimes, breathing deeply. That’s not government endorsement of religion because that’s no more religion than a kindergarten nap.

    On the other hand, school sponsored prayer to the Christian God, or indeed to any god or gods, is religion.

    There are some ambiguous cases, but this isn’t one of them.

  6. Hum, I wonder which state the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center is located in?

    (Believe me, I’m just kidding. My state is certainly not the model of cultural ascension.)

  7. To Cardinal Fang:

    From the NY Times article… “This is what is known as mindfulness training, in which stress-reducing techniques drawn from Buddhist meditation are wedged between reading and spelling tests.”


    “Midge Kinder, a yoga teacher, and her husband, Rick, started the program” in Lancaster, PA. People don’t think the program is doing something “religious” because hey, doesn’t everyone take yoga at the local gym? It’s not like 24-Hour Fitness has a Christian prayer class. :snort:

    You get a lot more buy-in from parents and administrators when you tell them it’s all about helping kids get along, as opposed to saying, “We’re going to train your kids in Hindu and Buddhist practices twice a week.” Let’s see how far an evangelical pastor gets with a character ed program based on New Testament ideas. The powers that be wouldn’t let his shadow darken the schoolhouse doorway.

    Did you see the picture of the “instruments” the kids are given to use during these sessions? Are you gonna tell me that those tools are secular inventions? Puh-leeze.