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MCPS Should Introduce Mindfulness to Classes

In+Buddhist+philosophy%2C+one+focus+for+achieving+mindfulness+is+the+seven+chakras%2C+also+known+as+the+seven+levels+of+consciousness+for+people+to+achieve.++
In Buddhist philosophy, one focus for achieving mindfulness is the seven chakras, also known as the seven levels of consciousness for people to achieve.

In Buddhist philosophy, one focus for achieving mindfulness is the seven chakras, also known as the seven levels of consciousness for people to achieve.

Graphic by Mark Schaefer

Graphic by Mark Schaefer

In Buddhist philosophy, one focus for achieving mindfulness is the seven chakras, also known as the seven levels of consciousness for people to achieve.

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An overcrowded mind, an overcrowded schedule.

Daily expectations consume students, leaving them tense and with too much on their minds. A tense mind is not a healthy one. Practicing mindfulness is an esoteric skill that could help students cope with depression and anxiety from school.

Mindfulness is the practice of being focused and aware of the present moment. If teenagers practice understanding and controlling their minds, they can achieve higher states of conscious awareness in order to better handle their relentless schedules and relentless workload.

Severe depression and anxiety are ongoing problems of 21st century American life. There is an estimated 3.1 million adolescents between 12-17 years old with severe depression and anxiety. Approximately 70 percent of those adolescents have severe cognitive impairment due to it, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

To combat this, mindfulness should be taught in schools so that all students have the opportunity to experience its benefits.

English teacher Krista McKim and engineering teacher Kimberly Starks are active proponents of mindfulness in the classroom. Both teachers have weekly meditational sessions that students engage in. They have their students sit in a comfortable position and practice meditation.

Starks is not only an engineering and technology teacher, but also a certified school counselor who has studied mindfulness. She has seen the effect of mindfulness and meditation on her students for many years.

“One little girl would always look tense and anxious. After the mindfulness, I saw a mark difference in how she responded and how she carried herself,” Starks said.

While many students take mindfulness seriously, others believe that it is a waste of class time. It is taken advantage of and used as a time for joking around by some students. However, mindfulness can help any student if the activity is taken seriously. Educators saw an 83 percent increase in focus from their students and an 89 percent better ability to regulate emotions, according to Mindfulschools.org, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching mindfulness in the classroom.

“I do think it [mindfulness] is a necessity; it is now a part of my life. I’ve been teaching for 10 years and I do mindfulness every day. I am a big believer in it,” McKim said. “I got trained to do it in schools because I thought it would help my student. It’s funny I wish I had had it in high school.”

With a handful of local meditation schools and groups in Montgomery County, MCPS should partner with these organizations to train teachers on mindfulness so that they can implement it in their classrooms. This will improve students’ mental state and result in a happier and more productive class. Teaching mindfulness in school is just as beneficial of a skill as teaching the actual subject or hard work.

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MCPS Should Introduce Mindfulness to Classes