Amelia Bryden

Primary Teacher

Chryston Primary

  • Health & Wellbeing

What Happens When I Introduce Mind Breaks in the Classroom After Lunch in Order to Improve Focus and Motivation?

Rationale

Mindfulness skills improve memory, organizational skills, reading and math scores, all while giving kids the tools they need to handle toxic stress (Kinder, 2017).

Health and wellbeing is one of the core areas for which all practitioners in Scotland are responsible which allows our children to lead healthy, happy lives (ScotGov, 2020). This enquiry topic was chosen because of the importance of health and wellbeing in the curriculum, and also through the frustration of the subject group – who often found afternoons unsettled due to either challenging behaviour or lack of motivation and energy.

According to Tarrasch (2018), the fundamental aspect of Mindfulness is the feature of training participants of how to control the direction of their attention, this helps keep individuals focussed on the immediate moment through their breathing, with the resilience to ignore inner or outer distractions. Tarrasch argues that this is demonstrated through the most prevalent definition of Mindfulness; “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment by moment”. Although there is a lack of research of Mindfulness in relation to children, it can be seen from the results of initial, existing research that it is indeed promising. Reports from Felver et al (2017), Berto and Barbiero (2014) and Semple et al (2010) show that there is an increase in the attention levels of children after partaking in Mindfulness practices. Attention levels in children are crucial in the success of children throughout school. From research, it is recognised more and more children have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the past decade (Tarrasch, 2018). This alongside the increase of social media and technology which can contribute to attentional difficulties, shows that there is a growing problem with retaining the attention levels in schools (Tarrasch, 2018). Furthermore, there is seen to be a strong correlation between attention deficit and anxiety, which can relate to various behavioural problems within the classroom and greatly affect academic performance (Tarrasch, 2018). Therefore, it is becoming more important that schools can take appropriate action to counteract this issue by using methodologies such as Mindfulness, if the early results are that this is proving to be successful. Allowing pupils to have this period of mindfulness can help children to become resilient and give them tools and techniques to manage their emotional, and mental health (Relax Kids, 2020). Mindfulness can be implemented in a multitude of ways such as drawing, yoga, breathing exercises, finger exercises, reading, listening and many more. Consequently, it was a particularly enticing choice for the subject group as it is flexible and can be fitted to individual classrooms.

Aims

This practitioner enquiry aims to evaluate the impact of whether implementing mindfulness into a pupil’s routine can promote positive behaviour and increase focus and concentration. By implementing these strategies straight after lunchtime, I aim to increase the engagement of the pupils in the afternoons and therefore increase the levels of concentration from the pupils.

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