Focused for Learning
A mindful approach to pupil engagement
The children and young people of our county, have told us through the Gloucestershire Online Pupil Survey that they are finding the emotional pressures of 21st century living difficult to manage. In response to what they have told us we have produced a suite of teaching resources to help classroom practitioners improve the mental health of their pupils.
This resource aims to help children calm their minds, to focus on the present, and to stop intrusive thoughts, including angry feelings, from sabotaging their learning. Mindful learning offers a very potent route to both happiness and attainment.
This resource has been written to support children’s learning through a range of simple ‘focusing’ techniques.
The activities are based on the principles of mindfulness, of teaching children to be more present with their attention and to develop increasing control over managing the many disruptions that fill our minds and hinder our ability to give our attention fully to the task in hand.
It can be used by any classroom practitioner and does not require any experience of mindfulness practice. Use of the materials can be adapted to suit individual needs but to fully maximise their impact, they are best used when the group leader is also taking part in the activities rather than just talking them through – they are designed to be fully inclusive!
A suggested survey is included with the resource to allow you to measure impact. This could be used as an intervention for the Gloucestershire Healthy Living & Learning (GHLL) Award.
Adaptations for older children and young people
Most of the activities in this resource are based on the 8 week mindfulness programmes for adults; they have just been adapted to suit a younger audience but their relevance and effectiveness will impact users of any age.
As the facilitator, you are best placed to gauge which activities may prove more challenging for your class and you can then adapt or leave out sections. However, do keep an open mind as your class may well surprise you with how easily they engage with the various activities.
Take the activities at your own pace; some cohorts may benefit from really embedding Stop and Take a Breath, Good Posture and Inviting the Bell, before being ready to explore the other sensory meditations. The numbers that you are working with may also shape which activities you try, for example, the Relaxation Walk would work best with a smaller group unless they are all very ‘tuned in’ to the principles.
Exam Stress and Revision
Exam Stress: A Revision Guide for the Anxious. Thousands of pupils across England, Northern Ireland and Wales have started their GCSE exams, marking the beginning of what can often be a stressful and anxious time for teenagers and parents alike. Advice on preparing their favourite dinners, to managing expectations (yours and theirs), experts offer their tips on what parents can do to help in the coming weeks.
The Mental Health Foundation
With a growing number of people using the online mindfulness course - Be Mindful Online - it is great to see more employers, support organisations and NHS services using the course with their staff, beneficiaries and patients!
- Try a free 3-minute breathing space exercise here
- Download free "how to look after your mental health using Mindfulness"