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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

Skill 3: Be Connected

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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 5: Be Creative
* Part 6: Teach Resilience

Connection is a product of mastering the skill of being present. It is the ability to observe, interact, and affect the individuals with whom you co-exist. It is empathy, sincerity and understanding put into action.

You can connect because you are aware, which makes you emotionally available to the young children in your class. As a result of that connection, the relationship between the teacher and students is authentic. That in turn results in teaching methods that are full of precision and purpose. What you are witnessing is the snow-ball effect of exercised awareness.

The mental, emotional, and professional investment in your students becomes more real when you enhance the connection between yourself and the children because you have moved from being a purveyor of information to a legitimate stakeholder in that childs future. The investment you are making mirrors that of other important stakeholders in the childs life, namely his or her family members.

That kind of connection can facilitate a conversation with the childs family concerning the childs learning style, strengths, talents, and areas of unfocused potential. Working successfully to include the family in the childs education completes the academic triangle. In essence, your observations of the child inform your practice, and the family is involved every step of the way to continue his or her education outside the classroom.

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.