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Introduction/Background

:
Recent research suggests that mindfulness interventions may be beneficial for all

students, especially those who have endured trauma or stress. More than half of all children have

experienced trauma or stress. These experiences can negatively impact a student's behavior,

academic performance, and social-emotional wellbeing. Mindfulness and yoga practices can help

to increase the physical, emotional, social, and mental well-being of young students. Children

cannot be expected to thrive academically if they are not emotionally balanced.
Rationale:

I have chosen this topic because I am really passionate about working with kids with

emotional and behavioral differences. I have a specific interest in advocating for children with

behavioral and/or emotional issues. Children with behavioral and emotional issues are often

misunderstood and not given the right tools to succeed. After diving into much research on the

topic, I found that the implementation of mindfulness practices not only benefits students with

behavioral and emotional need, but all students and teachers as well. I believe that if we can help

children in our schools learn to navigate their emotions and teach them healthy ways to manage

stress, we will help them thrive socially, emotionally, and academically.

Review of Literature:

Traditional school discipline methods such as expulsions, suspensions, and detentions do

little to solve the underlying issues which cause students to misbehave. Misbehavior among

children is more often than not misdirected behavior. Without the proper internal tools to deal

with stress, trauma, or even just the everyday social and emotional demands that come along

with growing up, many students become frustrated and lash out. In his book Lost at School, Dr.

Ross Greene (2009) discusses how students with behavior or emotional issues, especially

students who have endured trauma or stress, do not benefit from harsh discipline methods, such

992). Instead. 2010. Furthermore. social cognition. emotional. 2). The study from this article "supports previous research suggesting that mindfulness-based approaches may be beneficial for enhancing responses to stress among youth" (Mendelson et al. p. behavior issues. motivation. Students who do not have the tools to deal with stress are at risk of suffering from social emotional problems. It is counterproductive to attempt to force children to behave through the threat of punishment. 2014). in school. and/or behavioral issues as well as detrimentally affect a student's ability to learn. and behavior are one potential strategy for reducing the risks . p. "Contemplative practices that promise to improve the regulation of attention. 2009. students should be taught how to navigate stress and emotion internally in order to manage their own external behavior. These findings lend to the idea that when students regularly practice mindfulness skills..as zero tolerance policies. The journal article Feasibility and Preliminary Outcomes of a School-Based Mindfulness Intervention for Urban Youth discusses the negative impact stress can have on students. emotion. Mindfulness practices are one way children can develop the inner resources to deal with stress and trauma. According to Davidson et al. research suggests mindfulness and emotion regulation practices may produce beneficial changes in brain function and structure. and/or poor academic success. they are more likely automatically regulate their behavior when needed. the journal article. In fact. Childhood trauma can and create any number of social. Studies show that between one half and one third of all children experience trauma (McInerney & McKlindon. but actually increased behavior problems and dropout rates" (Greene. "A review of ten years of research found that these policies not only failed to make schools safe or more effective in handling student behavior. (2012). Contemplative Practices and Mental Training: Prospects for American Education brings to light research based on neuroscience that supports the benefits of using contemplative practices in schools.

2012). The only thing I would change to improve the project would be to have a little more time for the class. I also hoped to learn what types of mindfulness exercises students would respond to.. The principal discussed this with several teachers and together they put together a group of twenty fifth graders to attend my class. I began by setting up a meeting with the principal of Oak Grove Elementary School to discuss possible options. I think that fifteen minutes is the perfect amount of time for a quick yoga session followed by a mindfulness exercise. I did not have a specific plan but I knew I wanted to implement a mindfulness practice into a local elementary school somehow. and to what degree older elementary school children would want to engage in the practice. However. I decided that I would like to lead a brief yoga and mindfulness class for a group of students. my goal was to learn how mindfulness practices can help students of varying levels of emotional and behavioral need.  Evaluation of the process: The implementation of this project has been a seamless process. I have been leading a fifteen minute yoga and mindfulness class two days a week in the morning before the students begin class. Everything just seemed to fall into place as I built this project. it usually takes at . The principal was more than accommodating. Since then. Description of the Process:  Goals for Learning: When beginning this project. She offered me several suggestions and gave me the freedom to build my own program.children face and improving both social and academic outcomes through schools today" (Davidson et al.  Process: Before I began this project.

While the classes are brief and only two days a week. I quickly learned that I needed to have a backup plan (or two) every day. teachers. Additionally. . Based on the feedback I have received from students. I found that I often had to rely on my natural ability to be flexible and adapt to the mood of the students each day. If I were able. While there were times when things didn't work out exactly as I had planned. I will be an advocate for the implementation of mindfulness in schools. This class is not a requirement for this group of students but many of them attend every session. I can fairly confidently conclude that this class has helped students better manage their stress and helped them to stay focused for longer periods of time in class. but I have also learned much about myself throughout the process. This experience has realized for me the positive impact mindfulness practices can have on our youth. I would carve out twenty minutes to make up for transitions at the beginning and end of class. I have plans to integrate many of these techniques into the curriculum of my future classroom. R. Many days I would arrive to class with a carefully prepared plan for the session only to find that the kids were not in any mood for it.least five minutes for all of the students to arrive and get settled. Reflections: This project has not only taught me a great deal about teaching students mindfulness practices. I found that at times I had to muster up a great deal of patience to encourage such a large group of students to relax. this experience has been entirely positive for me. W. Moving forward. Lost at school: Why our kids with behavioral challenges are falling through the cracks and how we can help them. Sometimes it can be difficult to lead a group of fifth graders in a guided mediation. References Greene. New York: Scribner. (2009). I believe they have been of great benefit to the students involved. and the principal.

B. R. L..edu/login? url=http://search. (2012). M.. 38(7). A. .sou.proquest.. P.. T. 985-994. L. K. Dunne.com/docview/762467244?accountid=26242 . elc-pa. Child Development Perspectives. Retrieved from https://login. org/wp- Mendelson. Greenberg. T.. 146-153. & Leaf. (2014).. J.. R. Contemplative practices and mental training: Prospects for American education. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. J. Rhoades. F. Unlocking the Door to Learning: Trauma Informed Classrooms and Transformational Schools. Dariotis. (2010). Unlocking the Door to Learning: Trauma–Informed http://www..glacier. M. Gould. Greenberg. Feasibility and preliminary outcomes of a school-based mindfulness intervention for urban youth.. Eccles. J.. Jennings. S. McInerney... J. Web. & Roeser.. A. W. P.J Davidson. & McKlindon. Engle. M. Education Law Center. 6(2)..