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Mindfulness in the Classroom:
Five Skills That Influence Your Ability to Work With All Kinds of Learners

By Dr. Joseph Galasso and Elise Aportela


About the Authors

Dr. Joseph Galasso provides professional development and special interest consultation and training to schools, teachers, and educators.

Elise Aportela is the education coordinator with Head Start.

Skill 5: Teach Resilience

Resilience is not often thought of as something that can be taught. When working with young learners with differences, however, resilience can be the most important lesson.

According to Masten (2001), resilience can be defined in terms of positive patterns of adaptation in the context of adversity. In laymans terms, resilience is most often conceptualized as the ability to bounce-back or rebound from some troubling event or obstacle. Resilience is an essential construct to consider when working with children in an educational capacity because learning and behavioral difficulties can be devastating to a childs self-esteem and identity as a new learner.

Resilience lends itself nicely to our model of teacher development. It is easy to infuse into lesson planning, and it is a trait that is easily modeled by the teacher once the skills from the previous sections are integrated into the teachers persona.


Read More

Be sure to read all six parts of “Mindfulness in the Classroom: Five Skills That Influence Your Ability to Work With All Kinds of Learners.”
* Part 1: Working With Diverse Learners
* Part 2: Be Self-Aware
* Part 3: Be Present
* Part 4: Be Connected
* Part 5: Be Creative

Using resilience as an educational construct and tool begins with helping students to be self-aware; to be emotionally and cognitively present; to be connected; and to be creative. Those are known as protective factors -- any skill or ability that helps buffer a person against life experiences or organic factors that can negatively affect him or her. By using those skills, early childhood educators might be more apt to reach the previously unreachable student.

The model suggests that true connectedness through self-awareness, creativity, hope, and empathy can bolster fragile young childrens identities as learners. Furthermore, a teacher who can genuinely meet a child where that child is can influence his or her growth and development, because those types of positive interactions can bolster an otherwise vulnerable and fragile self-concept, regardless of whether its fragile due to learning disability, trauma, or illness. By reinforcing protective factors, you can help foster feelings of hope and empowerment in a child who might be feeling weak and incapable.

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