Mindfulness in Schools

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    • 00:11

      DR. TINA RAE: My name's Dr. Tina Rae,and I work at University of East Londonas a professional and academic tutorin the doctorate course for educational psychologists.My special interest is in the areaof well-being and mental health.In this tutorial, I'm going to introducethe concept of mindfulness and to focuson its origins, and also some of the benefits of mindfulnessto children and young people in schools,and how these approaches can be implementedon a practical day-to-day basis by both teachers and thosefrom therapeutic backgrounds.

    • 00:47

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: So in a nutshell, to describe mindfulness,I'd like to just make use of this chart here.Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way,OK?So on purpose.You intend to do it.You're making a point of paying attentionin the present moment.

    • 01:08

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: At that point in time.So paying attention on purpose in a particular wayat that moment in time, and non-judgmentally.This element of being nonjudgmentalis something that we will find incredibly difficult.So for example, we have thousands and thousandsof thoughts bombarding our brains all the time.And if we looked at the ratio of negative to positive,we would probably most of us find it was probably 2 to 1,or 3 to 1.

    • 01:35

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: Sadly for some of us, much more than that.But they're negative.And very often we're judging.And we will be judging ourselves,and we'll be judging other people.And it can become very, very tiring,and that can actually cause us a great deal of anxietyand stress in the longer term.So what we want children to be able to dofrom using some of these key practicesis to be able to not judge the way in which they're thinking.

    • 02:02

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: So I have this thought, I recognizeit coming into my mind, but I am now in this present timegoing to just let that thought go.I think without doubt, this approachcan help children in terms of protecting and maintainingtheir well-being and their mental health.If at the age of three, four, five,I can go into a school context and be taught how to be mindfuland how to use these tools and strategies to manage anxiety--but also to be able to increase my levels of concentration,attention, and focus in the classroom-- that surely canonly be of benefit, both in the short termand in the long term.

    • 02:43

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: If children learn these skills and make use themon a regular daily basis, I don't justthink that their own well-being is protected and fosteredand further developed, but I alsothink that, in the school context,the whole ethos can and does change,and you can gain a much happier, more peaceful climateand environment in which people are moremindful both of themselves and of each other.

    • 03:10

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: These are what I call "happy habits for well-being"that children can learn and developon a daily basis in school.When I'm introducing this in the school context,I very often make use of this particular resource, whichhas been published by Nurture Group Network, whichis a charity promoting the use of nurture groupsas an intervention for vulnerable children.

    • 03:35

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: This really introduces this notionof observing yourself and the sensations,and describing that at that moment in time.It's this raisin exercise.So the children are basically asked to take the raisinand hold it in their hand, and they'regoing to describe it to a martian who'snever seen a raisin before.So that's their first job.

    • 03:57

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: But then, think about this objectand what it actually looks like.What the surface looks like.How it feels.They then put it into their mouths.And they're not supposed to chew,which they find incredibly difficult at the start.But to think about the sensations,and to think about how that feels,and every single sensation, and thenswallowing and thinking about the sensationswhen they swallow it.

    • 04:19

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: This is really useful, as well, if youare someone who's trying to lose weight,because if you eat like this-- if youeat every meal in a mindful way-- you will begin to feel,honestly, quite filled up far more quicklythan you would have done had you justeaten your food without thinking about it.So again, it's about reinforcing that.But this is a lovely way to introduce mindfulnessto children, because what they're doing immediatelyis beginning to slow down, to think, to stop, to thinkof every sensation.

    • 04:44

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: And they're focusing on that one thing, as opposedto all the extraneous noise that is going on around them.Another activity that comes with this packis the bubble activity.And again, this is when children will be asked to lie downand to close their eyes, and thenthe teacher or the therapist will read the scriptfrom the card, which is to think about havinga tiny bubble in their hand.

    • 05:14

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: And also, thinking about what they would do with it.And this is a really good one for managing anxiety and thingsthat go wrong for us.Because if you were a little child five, six, sevenyears old and you have this bubble,and you can take it out of your heart,you can put it in your hand, and then youimagine all the good things in your life are in there.So all the things you love.The people you love.All the things that make you feel happy.

    • 05:35

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: The things you like doing.The colors you like, the stuff in your bedroomthat's gorgeous and wonderful-- all the thingsthat really make you feel special.That, in a way, is a really powerful image for a child.And then what they do is that they then script some of itout so that they then imagine putting that, reducing thatback, putting it back in their hearts.They know that they have that bubble there,that they can bring it out when they feel anxious or upset.

    • 05:57

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: So it's a real strategy for them.That doesn't work, necessarily, with older children,but it's usually powerful with little ones, whocan visualize that.And it has an enormous calming effect about thinking, well,I can bring out my bubble if I startto get stressed or anxious.The final one in the pack, we call it the memory game,basically.

    • 06:18

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: In this activity, the therapist or the teacherwould be collecting a number of everyday, familiar objectsthat the children would know and would recognize,such as a toothbrush, a cup, a paintbrush, et cetera.And then it would cover that with a cloth.And this is basic psychology.We do lots of experiments like this.But the children then have to think about these things.

    • 06:41

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: They have a look at them.They have to pay attention, OK?They have to then try to identify, to remember,what was actually on that tray, OK?They can do it in writing.They can do it in pictures.They can do it verbally.It depends on the children themselves.But again, it's something about paying attention, focusing,observing, remembering.

    • 07:02

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: Children absolutely love engaging in this stuff.And what I think is important is that any intervention,any therapeutic intervention, should notbe dull, or boring, or overly painful.Not at this level.It should be something that children realizeis going to be useful to them forever and ever and ever.This is something that's going to help themin terms of their future life and experience.

    • 07:24

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: If you learn this at the age of five, when you get to 11, 12,and you're transitioning to high school,then it'll be easier for you, because youcan manage anxiety much better.You can focus.You can concentrate.If you can use these key tools and strategies on a daily basisand you become a mindful person, then I alsothink that when you get into your adulthood--when you're going for exams lateron at the top end of the school system--you'll also be able to focus, concentrate, and manage stressmore effectively.

    • 07:51

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: There's a knock-on benefit all the way through from any kindof approach like this, I feel.By its very nature, it's somethingthat we can all learn to do.And children can very quickly gain the skills,make use of the strategies.They can take these ideas home.They can practice them at home.When they get anxious, they can make use of the strategies.

    • 08:13

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: When they feel worried about something,if they know that they need to calm down,they get much more alert and astute about whento calm down when they need to do that.From this tutorial, I hope that you'vegained some understanding as to what mindfulness actually isand what it might look like within a school contextor classroom setting.

    • 08:36

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: I think that it's a hugely important tool and interventionthat is entirely user-friendly.And children clearly enjoy many of these activities,and they benefit significantly.They also help children to be able to be still in the moment,and also to keep calm when things don't seemto be going absolutely right for them.

    • 09:00

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: There's something hugely powerful about beingable to let go of negative thoughts,of things that make you feel uncomfortable or unpleasant.There's something very powerful about beingable to see them float away from you.Visualize them doing that, rather than holding themin here and letting them fester and getmore and more distressed and anxious about them.So I think in essence, if childrenare able to take the skills and take them on into later yearsand into adulthood, as well, then Ithink that it can be only be of benefit to them.

    • 09:29

      DR. TINA RAE [continued]: [MUSIC PLAYING]

Mindfulness in Schools

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This tutorial introduces the concept of mindfulness, its origins, and some of the benefits and applications of mindfullness practice in early education. Dr. Rae, an educational psychologist, believes that children practicing non-judgemental thinking (an aspect of mindfulness) in school, learn to protect and maintain their mental health, happiness and well-being--skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

SAGE Video Tutorials
Mindfulness in Schools

This tutorial introduces the concept of mindfulness, its origins, and some of the benefits and applications of mindfullness practice in early education. Dr. Rae, an educational psychologist, believes that children practicing non-judgemental thinking (an aspect of mindfulness) in school, learn to protect and maintain their mental health, happiness and well-being--skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

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