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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 4: Be Creative

At the very foundation of all creativity is novelty; being able to bring something new and fresh to what already exists. Creativity should exist in what we think and believe, as well as in our actions.

In line with our belief that personal self-awareness is key to working with different types of young learners, professional self-awareness is also integral. As we asked you to look inwardly at your particular biases, we also ask you to do that about your teaching self (i.e., whats new and fresh about your teaching methods?).

For as long as education has been a formalized institution, the struggle between teaching to know and teaching to understand has existed. Teaching in isolation vs. teaching within a context, rote vs. constructed, curriculum in a box vs. emergent curriculum, standards vs. experiences -- those are the real forces that affect the extent to which educators can be creative. Teaching toward understanding depends on what your beliefs are as a teacher. Being completely present and available to study how your children learn is the first step.

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 6: Teach Resilience

The issue of creativity is affected largely by your ability to conduct in-class and out-of-class research. Examples of that kind of research include researching what affects the children outside of school, what their home life is like, what they are most attracted to in your classroom, and what they struggle with. The integration of in-class and out-of-class research is supported by the research conducted by Howard Gardner (1993) and by his theory of Multiple Intelligences.

In theory, once you are familiar with the whole child -- where he comes from, what she enjoys or doesnt enjoy -- you are better equipped to be creative with your practice. Creativity is bringing novelty to what already exists, but before you can call on your creativity, you have to know who and what you are working with.