The rationale behind this investigation stems from the desire to see young people learn well and attain well and the determination to remove any barriers to pupils learning. As class teachers we require pupils to listen, learn and engage with the learning in order for them to succeed. We expect participation from pupils and often task them with leading their own learning. We stretch our pupils and teach active lessons that require pupils’ full attention. We then use formative and summative assessment techniques to assess pupils and ensure learning and understanding. As soon as one class ends, pupils move onto the next class and next teacher who has the same expectations of pupils and expects the same levels of engagement as the last. Pupils in schools today will have up to seven lessons everyday where they are worked hard, given tasks, assessed and expected to learn well and engage.
A day in the life of a pupil within our schools can be both mentally and physically demanding and is filled with expectations and instructions. Among all this, there is also many distractions getting in the way of pupil learning. Movement between classes for example can be a very disruptive and unsettling time and many pupils may struggle to re-settle once arriving at their next class. The nature of our schools means that sometimes pupils arrive at our classrooms lacking focus, struggling to engage and often are not ready or able to learn well at that time. In Psychologist Daniel Willingham’s 2009 book, Why Don’t Students Like School?, he discusses that one of the most important things about teaching is ensuring the pupils are ready to learn as without being ready – they won’t learn and will not engage or enjoy their learning.
Dweck (2012) argued that students who practice mindfulness and who are self-aware outperform pupils who never consider mindfulness. Therefore the rationale behind this investigation not only stems from the desire to see young people learn well, but from the want to find an effective way of helping pupils practice mindfulness, allowing them to better engage in their learning and prepare themselves for learning before the lesson begins.
To investigate if the use of mindful pausing techniques within lessons can increase pupils’ readiness to learn and their ability to learn well.