FOUNDATIONS OF MINDSET IN THE CLASSROOM
Mindfulness is generally known to be the quality of being aware of our thoughts and feelings in any present moment.
There are many tools and aids for becoming more mindful that I have found work well for children, from breath-work to watching the space between two thoughts. Through specific examples and guidance, they experience how their own thoughts are creating their perception and experience moment-to-moment; in other words, they become more mindful.
Once they have background knowledge grounded in brain plasticity and the beginnings of an experiential foundation, it's a simple step to consciously accept or reject any thought at any time. And from then on, it's like gardening in our minds while learning about our tools. In the workshop, we role play challenging situations, get familiar with our tools, and come up with different possibilities of thoughts that will result in different perceptions and experience.
Together, we form a community that agrees to support one another in learning what it takes to tend the garden of our mind. And little by little, or sometimes all at once, it dawns on us that we have an immense power inside to have the life we want. And then we get to choose: we can continue to be confused not knowing why we get anxious and angry, or claim the amazing life that comes when we understand the most basic way that life works.
In my classrooms, it has always seemed to me that with a little background knowledge most children intuitively understand the brain science behind it all; that neurons that ‘fire together wire together.'
Brain research tells us that it is no different for neurons in the brain than the water carving rivulets, streams, and canyons in nature. When scientists say that we are hardwired to experience our most habitual thoughts and feelings, they are explaining why it is that we keep repeating certain thoughts, feelings, and experiences. And this patterning starts happening from a very young age.
The Yoga of Mindset is designed to show students how their brains are designed to hardwire their most habitual thoughts, and then helps them practice the tools necessary to live harmoniously among their thoughts and peers in an ever-more addictively complex and tech-filled world.
“It’s not that I am so smart. It’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Albert Einstein
"In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that's that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset, students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don't necessarily think everyone's the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it."
Dr. Carol Dweck, 2006, Mindset