Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Mindfulness in schools

It's a long time since I was at school, but one thing's for sure, we never had anything like mindfulness training to help us stay calm and focussed when preparing for exams.

Professor Willem Kuyken, who heads Exeter University's mood disorder centre, spoke on Radio 4's Today programme this morning about a recent research project which has shown that using the mindfulness approach in school can indeed improve the young peoples' wellbeing. 

Today in London the International Mindfulness in Schools conference looks at some of the pioneering work which is taking place, particularly in the UK.

Richard Burnett and Chris Cullen, are the co-Founders of the Mindfulness in Schools Project, which was set up in 2007. You can read more on the project's website, but they key question is this:

  When 25 teenagers tumble into your classroom at 11:45 on a wet Tuesday morning, how are you going to interest them in mindfulness? They are tired. They are hungry. They are playing with their phones, and they’d rather be somewhere else. They’ve never heard of mindfulness, it doesn’t sound very exciting, and if you were to tell them that it involved periods of stillness and silence, you’d lose them before you begun. How are you going to convince them that mindfulness is a skill which could make a real difference to their lives?

Answer: .b (Stop, Breathe and Be).
I almost wish I could go back to school and start learning all over again!

If you are a young person studying at school or university, do you think this approach would work for you? Or if you are a parent or teacher - do you think your children would benefit, and would you like to see mindfulness training added to the curriculum as a matter of course? Let us know.
Watch founder Richard Burnett's video here:

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