PD CAFÉ

Ed Café

Practices that honor student identities, build intergroup awareness and support diverse learning styles. 

Mindfulness

The results of a recent study about the effectiveness of mindfulness has teachers redefining quiet time.

Teaching Tolerance illustration of smilie student with motivational words on chalkboard behind him
llustration credit: Christian Northeast

Mindfulness means sitting silently and paying attention only to the present moment, without thinking about the past or worrying about the future. The Greater Good Science Center at UC-Berkeley says studies show that mindfulness

  • can change the structure of our brains.
  • can tune out distractions and help us focus.
  • can make us more likely to help someone in need.
  • can boost self-compassion.
  • can improve our ability to pay attention.

 

What does it look like in a classroom?

Reserve two minutes during the day to invite students to close their eyes and focus their attention on breathing in and out. Practicing mindfulness promotes reflection, self-regulation and caring for others—all attitudes that add to positive classroom culture.

Mindfulness defined

A Little Meditation Goes a Long Way

Mindful Education

 

Classroom Setup

Without saying a word, classrooms send messages about diversity, relationships, communication and power.

PHYSICAL SPACE

Arrange classroom seating to support collaboration, foster dialogue, encourage ownership and ensure comfort.

CLASSROOM A
SMALL GROUPS

encourage participation and allow students to share learning.

Teaching Tolerance illustration of  of 3 small groups of 5 elements

 

CLASSROOM B
A CIRCLE

encourages dialogue and shared learning.

Teaching Tolerance illustration of one group with all elements

CLASSROOM C
STATIONS

emphasize individual tasks and support collaboration.

Teaching Tolerance illustration representing elements of different groups moving to each other

 

Student Talk

POSE A QUESTION

Stand back and observe as students find the solution.

THINK-PAIR-SHARE

Give students the chance to speak.

ASK THREE BEFORE ME

Encourage students to support each other.

SOCRATIC SEMINAR

Structure student discussions to promote dialogue instead of debate.

 

Critical Engagement

Kids engage most critically when they feel free to question, form and challenge opinions, and to feel outrage or inspiration. Here are three strategies to get you started.

1. Step off the Stage

When students own the content, they question, challenge and form opinions as they create understanding. It can seem messy, and that’s OK.

2. Ask Open-ended Questions

DO: What more do you need to know to complete your persuasive letter?
DON’T: Do you have all the information you need to complete your persuasive letter?

3. Read Against the Grain

Encourage students to analyze the dominant reading and explore an alternative reading. Examine gaps, silences and contradictions.

 

Resistant Reading of Lord of the Flies


DOMINANT READING

  • A group of people cannot be left to rule themselves successfully.
  • Human nature is self-interested—not concerned about the good of others.
  • The strong survive to dominate the weak.


FEMINIST READING

  • The failure to create a functional society on the island is due to the absence of female characters.
  • How would the story be different if female characters had been included? 
  • The single-gendered narrative shows a power-hungry, dominant culture and represents a weakness in human nature.
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