The benefits of mindfulness in education

Oct 18, 2020 — Dominic O'Neill
The benefits of mindfulness in education

Mindfulness is the awareness achieved when you intentionally focus on the present moment in a non-judgmental way, observing your experience unfold moment by moment.

There are both physical and psychological benefits to mindfulness, and practising mindfulness in the learning environment is associated with improvements in various social-emotional and cognitive skills.

Students that practice mindfulness are better equipped to set goals and manage emotions, to make responsible decisions, to show empathy, and to build and maintain healthy relationships.

These skills are essential to wellbeing and can have powerful benefits in the learning environment and beyond, reducing anti-social behaviour, boosting academic achievement and improving long-term health.

“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” Dalai Lama

Personalising meditations for different learning styles

There are a variety of approaches in mindfulness meditation, and educators might seek to tailor their mindfulness practices to the age, needs and learning preferences of their students.

Visual learners could respond best to visualisation or image-guided meditation, and dynamic movement meditations might best suit our kinaesthetic learners. We can also adapt our meditations to our physical environment.

Perhaps your classroom has enough space for students to lie down. Is there a peaceful patch of grass on campus; a quiet corner of the library you could use?

You can start using the free Medito Teachers pack now - just download Medito from the App Store or Google Play.

Using mindfulness and meditation with your students

Mindfulness explorations may take many forms, but students of all ages in their diverse needs can benefit from the skills developed through them. In this pack, you will find a mixed set of meditations, each with a different purpose.

Some will help your students to adopt a calm state of mind in preparation for the day ahead of them, or relax after break-time. Others focus on resolving conflict, practising empathy and exploring the senses.

How often you choose to do mindfulness meditations with your students is up to you, but daily practices are recommended for maximum benefit, even if it is only for 10 minutes.

It is important to remember that students can also be encouraged to do mindfulness meditations at home, and mindfulness itself can be practised in other activities throughout the day, without the need for a dedicated meditation.

How to use the Medito Teachers pack

Medito is a completely free meditation app and contains a pack of meditations specifically designed for teachers to use with their students.

You may choose to explore the meditations in the pack in order, or simply select the ones you feel your students will best respond to. Some teachers might pause the meditation to make observations and encourage discussion for a more interactive session.

You can even build these meditations into your lesson plans, with specific learning objectives in mind, or explore related concepts in other activities to foster a mindful culture in the classroom.

We recommend that you (the teacher) listen through each session beforehand so you know what to expect and can plan how best to use them in class. Sessions 7, 8 and 9 require grapes, a scented candle and objects to hold, respectively, to guide students through sensory exploration and appreciation, so these call for a little more preparation.

We hope that these meditations help you to create a healthier and more harmonious learning environment, where your students can flourish in their relationships and learn more effectively.

Further reading

The following links provide more information on the benefits of mindfulness and integrating mindfulness into education:

Integrating Mindfulness Training into K-12 Education: Fostering the Resilience of Teachers and Students

23 Amazing Health Benefits of Mindfulness for Body and Brain

To start using the Medito Teachers pack, download Medito for free from the App Store or Google Play.

Dominic O'Neill

Dominic O'Neill

Dom is a writer, environmental policy advisor and award-winning science educator. He has a masters in astrophysics and spent five years teaching sciences in Mexico, including as Physics Professor at the university ITAM. He is a member of Medito Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board. As an avid painter and photographer himself, he has a strong interest in how mindfulness impacts performance and ethical behaviour.