Mindfulness is a great tool for self-evaluation of one’s emotional, mental and physical process when dealing with a wide variety of circumstances, but did you know the benefits of mindfulness can exceed to an intellectual level? Being mindful can reduce stress, maintain health and create mental stability. Marlatt & Kristeller identify mindfulness as a method that focuses on “bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis” (Marlatt & Kristeller 1999). Seeing the physical and emotional power Mindfulness is capable of, combined with the ability to create a maximized state of controlled concentration, one may question the educational potential such a method would have?
Researchers through the Goldie Hawn Foundation developed a mindfulness and kindness exercise called MindUP. The program was incorporated across schooling systems within North America and outer country areas. The exercise was integrated within junior schooling programs to study the effect of social and emotional learning. Students went through exercises testing mindfulness of their senses, routine meditation and the practice of emotional action (Oaklander 2015).
The final results showed a number of improvements. Mindfulness tested students had improved mathematical results, increased social behaviour, had reduced levels of aggression and found themselves favouring a social outlook.
The classroom is adapting more and more to these ideals of learning environments that bolster student clarity and emotional stability. Programs like Mathletics are a great example of an educational resource that’s reinforcing a Mindful learning environment.
Mathletics works in a manner favourable to a student of mindfulness. Zinn speaks of mindfulness as “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” (Zinn 1994), this is the structure in which Mathletics supports learning. Mathletics breaks down topics into focused tasks in which a student can work through mathematical problems question by question. If students don’t understand or get an answer wrong, Mathletics provides resources such as step by step help and teacher accessible reports that is used as a non-judgmental tool for breaking down student results in order to determine constructive plan of action. By using student controlled assistance and teacher reporting, the student is never put in a position of stress or pressure from their negative outcomes. Mathletics ensures that students never feel left out or incapable or improving.
Additionally, Mathletics works to the social aspect of the mindful student. Mathletics is a worldwide classroom, it creates a space of healthy competition and interaction through the Live Mathletics arena. Students can take their learning and reinforce it in friendly competition on an individual, classroom or worldwide scale. The results of online interactions are further recorded and displayed in Top 50 and Top 100 lists on a domestic and international level. Mathletics, therefore has created a positive social learning environment to which students can apply their learning whilst helping other students apply theirs through the challenge of ‘out-mathing’ one another.
Learning programs are becoming more common in modern education. As Schools seek to create a learning environment that promotes a balance of concentration and emotion, programs like Mathletics are working to help make the classroom a more mindful learning space. A good educational mind-set can create emotional and intellectual clarity which improves not only results, but character as a future member of society.
Hayes & Feldman, 2004, ‘Clarifying the construct of mindfulness in the context of emotion regulation and the process of change in therapy’. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice.
Kabat-Zinn, 1994, ‘Mindfulness Training as a Clinical Intervention: A Conceptual and Empirical Review’.
Marlatt & Kristeller, 1999, ‘Mindfulness and meditation’, W . R. Miller (Ed.), Integrating spirituality into treatment (pp. 67–84). Washington, DC:American Psychological Association.
Oaklander, 2015, Mindfulness Exercises Improve Kids’ Math Scores’, 26 January 2015. Mandy Oaklander: Blog Available from: <http://time.com/3682311/mindfulness-math/>. [3 October 2015].