Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness
Come breathe.

Come breathe.

Join our mindfulness class for teachers!  This class will have nothing at all to do with the district, with the students, with the parents:  this is exclusively for teachers who would like to explore some mindful practice, utterly untethered from our school lives, on private, non-contractual time.

Here are the dates.  They are the same ones we were going to hold it before minds were changed:

Tues Sept 17

Tues Sept 24

Tues Oct 1

Tues Oct 8

Tues Oct 15

Tues Oct 22.

Each session would be 3:15 to 5:15, give or take.

We hope to meet at Dragonfly Yoga Studio, on Green Street opposite the Mercer Museum:

map of Dragonfly Yoga Studio

Friendly place in Doylestown Borough.

Friendly place in Doylestown Borough.

Dragonfly has the space for us, but we need to pay for it, so a donation will be requested.

If you’d like to do this, and you can commit to all the sessions, find a way to reach me on my home phone or leave a comment here telling me where to reach you.  I’ll put your name on the list.

The holy grail of mindfulness in education

From the New York Times, evidence that mindfulness practice could raise test scores.  While test scores seem to me a limited measure of student attainment, they do drive the debate these days. If students who practice mindfulness can be shown to do better on standardized tests, as this article suggests, those of us who advocate for mindfulness in schools might be able to persuade skeptics of the benefits.

The group that took mindfulness training, however, mind-wandered less and performed better on tests of working memory capacity and reading comprehension. For example, before the training, their average G.R.E. verbal score was 460. Two weeks later, it was 520.

Richard J. Davidson, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who has studied brain function in long-term and novice mindful meditators, offered this analogy: “You can improve the signal-to-noise ratio by reducing the noise. Decreasing mind-wandering is doing just that.”

Other professors of cognitive psychology thought the study was well done, although based on a small sample, with results that have yet to be replicated.

“A type of training that can help one avoid susceptibility to worries, or other sources of mind-wandering, very well could improve performance,” said Nelson Cowan, a professor at the University of Missouri who specializes in the study of working memory capacity and attention, in an e-mail message.

Review of 3 Happiness Books

On Salon.com this morning, I found this review, which is excellent not only for its descriptions of the 3 books, but for its look at the drawbacks of the genre.

First, I want to read Love 2.0 by Barbara Frederickson.  As Schwartz describes it:

Love 2.0, Fredrickson wants to convince us, is made up of moments of deep connection between people. Such moments create what she calls “positivity resonance,” which in turn creates a positive feedback loop that enables us to experience more positive emotion, to have more energy, to do better work, to be healthier, and to live longer. Further, she argues, love, properly understood, requires physical — though not necessarily sexual — intimacy (take that, Facebook!). It requires eye contact, touch, and laughter. Otherwise, it’s just parallel play.

There are steps we can take to increase our “moments of love,” but this takes some discipline and practice. The habits we have formed in relating to our intimates are not so easy to break. In the second half of Love 2.0, Fredrickson offers advice, and the advice, surprisingly, is to turn not to science, but to Buddhism, and in particular to the Buddhist practice of lovingkindness meditation (LKM). Fredrickson is a practitioner of LKM herself, and offers a testimonial to how life changing just a few hours a week can be. But beyond her testimonial, she describes empirical research on the psychological and physiological benefits of LKM. Small wonder that she has twice had audiences to present her research to the Dalai Lama.

Just as interesting is Schwartz’s point that our world is constructed precisely to help us to feel disconnected, to prevent us from finding true joy and peace, systemically and culturally.  In a competitive, commercial culture, we will always be working against the grain to be at peace.

Thanks, Mr. Schwartz.

Love 2.0

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