Yesterday I did a short TD session with the teachers in my team about using mindfulness meditation with students. This is not a write-up of the session, as the ground it covered is already largely covered in the afore-linked-to blogpost but I thought I would make a note of the questions my colleagues asked and my answers, as it is possible that others reading my blog post about using meditation with students, or who are just thinking themselves about using meditation with students, might have similar questions floating around in their heads!
Did you do the meditation at the start of every class?
Yes, every single class for two terms! And also when small groups of students came to do their seminar discussion exam, I led the meditation before starting their exam so that they would be calmer.
Did you use the same meditation every time?
Yes, the same one every time! So the students were familiar with and knew what to do/how it works etc. I think it also means that students can focus on the meditating, not on processing what it is that they are being told to do.
Did you get bored of doing it?
No, I found it a lovely, peaceful way to start each lesson and bring the class together into a space of readiness for learning.
What about getting the students to lead it?
I didn’t try that but I don’t think I would because I want them to just be able to benefit from those couple of minutes, and not have to take the responsibility of leading it which might be quite stressful for some (which would be counterproductive!).
Did you notice a difference in their behaviour between the term when you didn’t do it and the terms when you did?
The key thing for me was that once we did the meditation each lesson, they were with me and focused on what was to come. (And if you look at the feedback from them in the blog post I linked to at the start of this one, you’ll see focus and concentration were the major themes!)
What about lower levels?
This wasn’t actually a question, but we also discussed about how it would work for lower levels and the consensus was that you could simplify it right down so that you say much less and have longer silences. So that there are fewer, simpler words but the meditation takes the same length of time. But also, provided you give them time to look at the print-out in the first lesson and they can check any unknown vocabulary, and provided you then use the same meditation consistently, linguistic issues can be dealt with early on.
Do you have any more questions about it? Feel free to comment with and I will happily add them and answers to this post!