Sometimes our lives can get extra busy and we are totally consumed. We can feel overwhelmed, challenged and distracted. Mindfulness is a technique that helps us to “live in the moment”.
Mindfulness is a practice whereby you bring your awareness to the present moment in time and experience it without judgement or expectation. Kids are better at this than adults. They just get absorbed in the moment such as when they are playing or eating something yummy.
You might recall the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare thinks it can beat the tortoise in a race, but ends up getting distracted rushing here and there instead of focusing on the task. The tortoise just takes one step at a time to get to the finish line, mindfully focusing on the task at hand.
A common task that is used to raise awareness of mindfulness is the Raisin Exercise.
Put a few raisins on a plate and try the following:
The outcome of a simple exercise like this can help you with your work/life balance. Consider how mindfulness can have health and well-being benefits for your and your students.
Here are some mindfulness ideas:
How to introduce mindfulness into your classroom: nine handy tips
Mindfulness activities and teaching resources
Video, audio and books for introducing mindfulness to your school.
Empowered learners, knowledge constructors, innovative designers, computational thinkers, creative communicators and global collaborators.... these are essential characteristics being considered by ISTE in their new draft of the ISTE Standards for Students. The document is currently in review and ISTE is requesting feedback from educators, parents and students from around the word to ensure they capture the essence of what are considered essential competencies or predispositions for today's and future students.
It had been interesting for us here at Academic Edge to review these competencies and to see how our program supports the seven proposed standards. We became very excited when we discovered a number of connections: Here are just a few we have explored. Once the Standards are finalised we will be able to map them more accurately.
Students set learning goals and advocate for learning approaches and tools that align with their needs and abilities, working styles and interests. (Knowing Me / My Future Dreaming / Essential Building Blocks for Me / Personalised Study Toolkit)
Students use digital tools during reflection and bring transparency to their metacognitive processes (Personalised Toolkit / My study perceptions /
Students exhibit perseverance and a tolerance for ambiguity, work through failure, and make decisions based on calculated risk. (My Future Dreaming / Managing Me / My Study Perceptions / Actioning my Future).
When the Standards are finalised we will provide a full map of how the Academic Edge program supports students to address these competencies. If you want to find out more about the ISTE Standards follow this link.
As educators we talk about reflection a lot, especially in the context of future learning (the new term for 21c learning). In reflecting on that :-) and knowing that many students and teachers dislike having to document what they think, it started me thinking about where, why and how we use reflection as a strategy.
Boud, Keogh & Walker (1985) in their introductory chapter discuss the 3 stages of reflection: preparation; engagement in the activity; and processing what has been experienced. They go on to discuss the role of the affective domain in learning and how it can present barriers. As teachers we usually engage in reflection at the end of the activity using templates very like the ones for project based learning but is it too late by that stage if the student has a cognitive or emotional barrier to learning?
I often use what I call M&M's in my teaching - no... not the chocolate .. they are metacognitive moments - where I stop the class and ask them questions to make them think about what we have just been talking about or learning. Perhaps we all need to think of reflection not as a strategy in itself but as a part of every teaching strategy?
I know that the cognitive aspect is engaged when we enable rigorous project based learning as we engage their curiosity and need for collaboration. But getting the learner to think about their learning is only one part of effective learning. How do we engage the emotional aspect of the learner? Perhaps something to think about......
In a recent article called "Why Attitude is more important than IQ" Travis Bradberry described some recent research conducted by psychologist Carol Dweck that shows that your attitude is a better predictor of success than IQ. She suggested that people's core attitudes fall into two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
People with a fixed mindset accept that they are who they are and cannot change. They do not consider that there are alternative solutions to problems and when challenged become overwhelmed and feel hopeless. Thos is also often referred to as the VICTIM mentality where the glass is half empty.
On the flip side are those people with a growth mindset who are open to new ideas, see a challenge as an opportunity to learn something new and don;t give up at the first roadblock that comes along. These people are considered VICTORS who see the glass as half full.
For students to be successful they need to develop this growth mindset to help them meet the ever increasing challenges they will be confronted with as the progress through their academic career. Academic Edge can help students develop this growth mindset through its range of academic success programs and materials.
We are experienced educators passionate about students achieving their potential, and believe that to do this they need highly developed and personalised learning and study skills