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Reading, Writing And Character

The new push to teach perseverance, self-control, and mindfulness at school.

Students return for their first day of classes at Barwell Road Elementary School in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, July 9, 2012. (AP)

Students return for their first day of classes at Barwell Road Elementary School in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, July 9, 2012. (AP)

American children need reading, writing and arithmetic.  They need science, technology, engineering, art, literature.  They also, says a new movement, need a psychological tool kit filled with attention, perseverance, emotional control, “mindfulness.”  Some now call it character.

The habits of mind that make all else possible.  Taught in school.  Classrooms are now taking time out for meditative moments.  Getting centered.  Getting mindful.  The call it self-regulation.  Emotional learning.  Right alongside the “three-R’s”.

This hour, On Point:  teaching mindfulness at school.

-Tom Ashbrook


Ingrid Wickelgren, an editor at Scientific American Mind. Her latest piece in the September/October issue of Scientific American is “The Education of Character: Scientists, politicians and celebrities are remaking schools as gyms for the brain where teachers build the mental brawn for attention, perseverance and emotional control.”

Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, applied developmental psychologist and a professor in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology and Special Education at the University of British Columbia.

Becky Bruenig, 3rd grade teacher at Basalt Elementary School.

From Tom’s Reading List

Scientific American “A tiny dark-haired girl bedecked in a brown dress with a crinoline skirt sits calmly on the rug in front of her class of fellow kindergartners; her pink boots, dotted with sparkles, are tucked neatly under her legs. Wielding a small metal rod, she taps on a triangular chime. At the tone, her classmates clasp their hands together like a cup, with the back of one hand in the palm of the other, close their eyes, fall silent, and proceed to say and do apparently nothing.”

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  • Kairos

    They should teach democracy in schools in every grade level. 

    • Pancake Rankin

      Krikes, “they” (we maybe?) should PRACTICE democracy and critical justice thinking in schools at  every grade level, and in every workplace.

      • Steve

        If critical thinking was practiced in schools and workplaces many schools and workplaces would cease to exist.

  • ToyYoda

    Self control, focus, mindfulness how funny that science is only *beginning* to understand what Buddhists and other eastern mystics have known for at least two thousand years!! Reminds me of a book I read on happiness where the author tells the story of a scientist who mentions to a Buddhist that studies show that focus and happiness can be trained. The Buddhist laughed heartily as if to say “DUH!!”

    • Pancake

      Your eyelids are getting very heavy…

  • Pancake Rankin

    V-chip every child, and when they have a dissident thought implants provide Adderol or Ritalin; and tazing, as needed. This is the cheapest solution in a nightmare environment and would enable more tax cuts. With a docile audience of colonized minds Disney could provide the perfected curriculum eliminating teaching as a profession. Oh, and if your child is perfect and bright, why cackle? You conformists have nothing to fear. (Subtext: Formal education is an obsolete product requiring compulsory consumption: Mass psychology is an obsolete product requiring compulsory consumption.) Psychobabble has been around so long it’s a wonder some experts have not adopted it as a surname.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=686519255 Daniel Healy

    They should try teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Oh, they did that?

    • Ipswicher

       Who are “THEY”??? Schools do a great job considering the outside conflicting forces of media, social demands and disconnected parents.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lee.guerette Lee Guerette

      Unfortunately if kids are upset, stressed, out of control angry… they can’t learn

  • Vandermeer

    Sounds very interesting and needed today … we need an antidote to texting and streaming video and action video games. There is little opportunity or time for students to quietly reflect and enjoy silence and freedom from external stimulation. Sometimes I asked my students to enjoy the quiet of a study time… a little new age music calmed and focused them. We all
    need this quiet time. 

    • Hold_on

       Ha!  If I ever have children, I know I’ll either be homeschooling them or sending them to a church school.  While character development is important, different people disagree on how to go about training children to develop a great character.  I certainly do not want any teacher to be streaming “a little new age music” into my children’s ears.  Did you get permission to do that?  I notice, in the media, a lot of talk about implementing Eastern psychological/religious traditions in American society (particularly in medicine).  As a Christian I say, to each is own.  Character development is important, but everyone’s religious beliefs needs to be respected, especially in the public arena where children are trained in public schools.

      • Beta

         Meditation and mindfulness can be part of a Christian person’s life, just as much as anyone else’s.

        “New Age” is just a genre of relaxing music, not part of an attempt to “indoctrinate” anyone into some religion.

        Critical thinking is an important skill which schools should teach as well, though it might encourage kids to ask “why” when their parents tell them the Bible is literally true, or such nonsense. Can’t have that.

        • Hold_on

           Oh no Beta, definitely not.  The meditation that I learn about and practice as a Christian is not the same as Eastern Buddhist mystic transcendental meditation.  Also, there is no such thing as “just” a genre of music.  I’ve never heard any serious musician talk lightly about their music.  Transcendental meditation is not critical thinking.  Transcendental meditation involves the emptying of the brain of all thought, so your mind can become quiet and open to anything good or bad.  I know that many Christians practice transcendental meditation in their churches (there are many Christian denominations with different interpretations of the Bible) but in the Christian meditation that I practice your mind is never empty, you are always judging and critiquing every thought, according to the word of God, to see whether it is good or bad.  Just so you know, I became a Christian before my parents became a Christian and one of my parent is still not a Christian.  I became a Christian because I spent hours at my church asking why, and I looked more seriously into Christianity after an elder at my church told me that if I found another religion that makes sense I should follow it.  My parents don’t know what I learned at church; they just sent me to church, where for the first few years I successfully tuned out everything that was said because I didn’t want to be there. I excelled in school as a child and I studied Neuroscience in undergrad and am currently pursuing various scientific studies.  I say if it wasn’t for the critical thinking skills that I learned in church, I would not have excelled in school, given that I was never talkative as a child.  As I said, to each his own: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve Yahweh,
          choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your
          fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of
          the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we
          will serve Yahweh” Josh 24:14; “How long halt ye between two opinions? if Yahweh be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21″.

  • Ayn Marx 666

    Advertising and marketing teach bad character—poor impulse control, privileging of the uncritical gut brain over the neocortex and the Image over Reason, sex as predation, and above all consumption as the solution to all life’s problems—hours a day to most children. We need to counter that…but then how will we have an economy that will keep our Elect powerful and happy and the rest of us miserable on in fear of it?

  • Wm. James from Missouri

    Does anyone on this site practice Transcendental Meditation ?

  • Greyman

    “Let the schools teach the little tots character.” Why not equip public schools with their own human reproduction labs? Administrators can then push the perambulators down the hall from gestation-reception to pre-kindergarten fiddlefaddle. Once mastery is attained, the little tikes can be wheeled down a few steps more to their next appointment, this time with actual kindergarten. With basic intellectual prowess attained, the precious children can learn to walk, crawl, and flee through the US public education system, which strives mightily to remove children from all care, custody, and concern of parents, while disowning the sole responsibility it’s appropriated for itself for “building tomorrow’s citizens”. Alternatively: abolish public education as soon as possible, since it has long since become the case that the most vociferous supporters of public education commonly number among those who have attained their genius by virtue of attending hallowed Harvard, quintessential Princeton, glorified Columbia, superstupendous Yale, and other elite and elitist institutions of “higher learning”. Id est: public education’s failures are by now numerous enough and substantive enough NOT to foist further responsibilities upon the tottering institution: already unable to confer basic literacy and numeracy to almost half its client population nationally, it would only further ruin and shred civil, social, or political cohesion were we to even think of trusting it with such additional responsibility. –which means, of course, that the ideas promoted here today will likely become insanely popular over the next few years, and we’ll be able to enjoy the results within a matter of decades, hoorah and hooray.

    • Brigitte

       In other words: Public education is having a lot of problems, the Ivy League schools are elitist, and this Mindfulness thing sounds like some kind of government indoctrination. Therefore we should scrap public education and let kids learn whatever they need from their parents (when they aren’t working two jobs to make a poverty-line living).

      • Greyman

        In other words, while I appreciate your effort at condensing
        or restating my argument, I point out that I’m not strictly opposed to home
        schooling or to private education, but otherwise I would not want you to risk
        understating my argument. The larger problem I call “cosmopolitan
        provincialism”. Seems to afflict much of the population of the vaunted
        Northeast Corridor (rampant elsewhere, of course), seems to admit of no exact
        cure. If our elites in education and the media (as our elites in government and
        finance, law and science) in fact think (as they routinely self-advertise) that
        all American problems can be understood or addressed only in terms congenial to
        the Northeast Corridor’s generalized understanding of the world and humanity,
        and that pragmatisms of various competencies and ambitions can simply be
        extrapolated from their learned experience and applied elsewhere and anywhere,
        then the intellectual myopia I purport to view (and participate in from the margin)
        is much more advanced than even I have assumed.  “La boria dei dotti” (the conceit of the
        scholars) consists largely of underestimating the scope and power of ignorance,
        one’s own every bit as much as and much more than what one would charitably attribute
        to the unlearned. Nothing notable in America’s practice of “education”
        compensates for this institutional myopia.

  • http://freeourfreemarkets.org Steve Banicki

    “But the big story here is cultural and moral. If schools want to re-engage Henry, they can’t pretend they can turn him into a reflective Hamlet just by feeding him his meds and hoping he’ll sit quietly at story time. If schools want to educate a fiercely rambunctious girl, they can’t pretend they will successfully tame her by assigning some of those exquisitely sensitive Newbery award-winning novellas. Social engineering is just not that easy.Schools have to engage people as they are. That requires leaders who insist on more cultural diversity in school: not just teachers who celebrate cooperation, but other teachers who celebrate competition; not just teachers who honor environmental virtues, but teachers who honor military virtues; not just curriculums that teach how to share, but curriculums that teach how to win and how to lose; not just programs that work like friendship circles, but programs that work like boot camp.” Honor Code, David Brooks, New York Times, July 6,2012

    The above is on target regarding education. The only thing to add is parents must play a role in their child’s learning that no one else can fill. It is easier to give your child a pill in the morning than to fix him a wholesome breakfast. In our busy world it is easy to “off-load” responsibility of your child’s education to a school, even if it is a private school. I know because I did and regret it. It is great if you can afford to send your child to a private school, but that does not substitute for your personal involvement. Your personal time sends a message that indeed you deem education to be important.  http://www.freeourfreemarkets.org/2012/07/right-education.html#more

  • MDB

    This sounds like a very necessary thing in an age that’s filled with distractions. I’m not a luddite–I work in tech–but the boundless expansion of consumer electronics into our physical and psychological space is *not* progress. 

  • Bea

    Can you please discuss how this practice would work side-by-side with the modern self-esteem movement that seems to have transformed so many from modest citizens to raging egomaniacs?

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    I like the concept but we have handicapped our children: we have a society of no-accountability. C level execs get golden parachutes for major screw-ups. Politicians preach morality while they lie and sell us out to their contributors. They rarely go to jail. Bankers, Financiers and traders are not going to jail for causing this recession that we’re in. Fox News et. al. is loaded with nonsensical lies, and vitriol and… scorn for government and teachers. Many politicians and parents overtly display no respect for education, schools or teachers. Add to that that teachers are terribly restricted in what they are allowed to do to discipline out of control kids.

    This is what kids see. How can this major obstacle be overcome so we can then take advantage of such brilliant ideas like you are discussing?

  • Karen

    How are they going to take time out for mindfulness when they are either cutting recess time or just taking recess away all together?  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    It’s not going to do much if it doesn’t happen in the home.

    And all we need is something else parents can point to and say “well, that’s what school is for”. That’s the primary problem with education as a whole.

  • Greyman

    I can already hear addled teachers appropriating and implementing this sagacious pedagogical discipline . . . .

  • Alex Mikulich

    Character, habits of mind, and contemplation have been integral to the Catholic intellectual tradition and schooling since at least the founding of universities in Paris.  There are very old traditions of this kind of tradition of contemplation and mindfulness.

  • Lark

    I include a chime, moment of silence, and suggestions for exploring attention, at the start of every HS English class at a private boarding school. One idea my students found most intriguing was the thought that “I don’t have to believe everything I think.” Creating space around a thought, and then investigating the source of awareness, gives one a space btw thought and action or reaction, which is to say one gains freedom.
    Lark in NH

  • Greyman

    From the available statistics on the rates of public school employee sexual predation, perhaps this pedagogical discipline can be linked to tantric yoga exercises . . . .

    • dukeofurl

      If you don’t understand the discipline being discussed (and you obviously do not) then don’t comment on it.

  • J__o__h__n

    Bring back naptime.  At least in the workplace!

  • Rebecca

    A study decades ago in a boarding school showed that by changing diet from processed foods (sugar, white flour, etc) to whole foods, behavior problems — such as lack of attention and focus, acting out, anti-sociabilty, lack of self-control — were completely reversed and solved. This effort to teach character is fine in principle, but brain chemistry is absolutely influenced by diet, and brain chemistry is core to the behaviors that are trying to be addressed by character-training. It would be much better for long-term health of our society for schools to improve their food practices, for families to learn nutritious practices, and for corn price supports to be eliminated (removing corn-based fructose products from the market).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Mindful breathing and meditation  techniques have their place – with older kids.

    But it’s no substitute for the recess programs being cut back and eliminated for younger kids everywhere. Expecting kids bouncing off the walls due to lack of activity to “balance” themselves with a moment of meditation of mindful breathing is very unrealistic.

  • Alexis

    There is already a curriculum of education based on preparing the minds of children in this manner; it’s called Montessori. Maria Montessori observed children a hundred years ago and formulated ideas for educating children that are collected in a book called The Absorbent Mind. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Public schools should investigate implementing these ideas so that they can reach more children, not just the privileged few.

  • Greyman

    “Science”: with all the rigors of anecdotal testimony, compelling argument already.

  • Mary

    yes. the kids are missing something and yes more kids need to learn self discipline.. this iwll help w studies.. which will help with college or technical school. that’s something  no one ever tells you. I know. I’ve done both, and if I hadn’t had good study habits, i would have been dead..

  • Matthew Bosley

    Keep in mind (ooops, no pun intended) that these brain functions are largely located in the prefrontal cortex on the brain–which does not fully mature until the middle or late twenty years of age.  Maturing past one’s teens is necessary before the PFC will function at its best.  THAT SAID, however, as “the brain is a muscle, too,” anything to “exercise” and strengthen the centers in the PFC during the pre-teen and teen years could pay off “big time” in an effort to teach students to become more functional in our increasingly complex culture and society.  Not all homes call or will teach this, and it is essential to better learning.

    Matthew Bosley, M.D. (Pediatrics)
    Lincoln, NE

  • Lily Canter

    Another band-aid program that foists parenting/guidance responsibility onto the schools.  “Character” training has merit but does not address fundamental stresses that families in poverty face: malnutrition, lack of supervision from parents working round the clock, lack of education by the parents, etc.  Until this country begins to support families (as they do in Europe, esp. Scandinavia) we will have poorer and poorer educational outcomes.  Statistically, the best predictor for educational or income attainment is the attainment of your parents.  In Denmark, Finland they give families money, housing, food, medicine and they have much better educational outcomes…here, we throw them into school where, in reality, they get very little support for learning.

    • Info

       Sadly you are correct. There are many such issues in our society- education, health care, energy use- which must be addressed at their root, lest our culture be held together by naugt but leaky band-aids. Eww.

  • MarkVII88

    In many instances I’m sure a compelling case can be made for the benefits of meditation during the school day.  Many children, especially in struggling schools, have to contend with hunger, abuse, neglect, and poverty when they’re at home which must be a significant source of stress.  Meditation in school can be a way to release tension for these children and foster the perception of school as a sanctuary.

  • Greyman

    What kind of “character” is presently being modeled in US public schools with employee sexual predation cases numbering nationally in the hundreds of thousand if not modest millions? with system-inaugurated cheating scandals? with public and secondary schools so robust and successful that remedial English and math programs are now required in post-secondary settings?

  • Maxwellp

    I live in Williamsburg, VA, and have three children in the York County Gifted Education program.  The program has started focusing on the 16 Habits of Mind, a core set of mindfulness practices used throughout the learning day.  These practices have enhanced my childrens’ experience, and I wish it would be introduced to their home school, where they spend most of their time – every child would benefit frm this unique (unfortunately) way of communicating with others and learning, including empathy, metacognition, and taking risks. 

    • Ldegroft

      I also live in the Burg and am thrilled to see that these techniques and ideas are making their way here.  Good for York County, is only in the Gifted program?

      • Maxwellp

        Yes, unfortunately only in the gifted program for now.  But the York County gifted ed staff and teachers are always reaching out to the home schools to encourage and support the use of this and other resources – they are wonderful…the program is one day a week…my childrens’ favorite day!  We keep the 16 habits on our fridge – every human of every age would benefit greatly from their practice.

  • PS

    Today, mom and dad are often both working. I work with a lot of these families as a real estate broker. The behaviors I witness in many of these parents are not what they used to be 25 years ago or even 10 years ago. Parents who do not model character, ethics, fairness, or kindness; and cannot themselves be attentive or mindful (get off their Blackberry/iphone or sit down to dinner each night), produce children who lack these traits. Example: the parents who go nuts at their children’s sporting events. Or the parents I see who are talking to their friends on the cell phone, while jogging and pushing a stroller!
    Be mindful and do one task at a time………..   Adults need to model better and healthier behavior at home and while in public. I think we need meditation classes and time out for parents. Parents are overstressed and overworked and from what I witness, they need help. Start there. 

    • dukeofurl

      Why not both?

  • Jan Krause Greene

    I am a former high school English teacher – retired from the classroom in 1991. I happened to be doing professional development in schools in Louisiana during and after Katrina. I used mindful breathing with students, just on a whim because the middle school students seemed so unfocused and stress out to me. 
    Now I do neuro-feedback with young children (some are still preschoolers.) They watch a video while wearing a sensor on a headband. When the limbic system is overactive (usually stress, fear, anxiety, depression, impulsivity) the sensor can detect this, because it is measuring the activity in the prefrontal cortex. When the limbic system is overactive, the prefrontal cortex is “underactive.”
    The video stops when there is not enough activity in the prefrontal cortex. The video starts again when the child manages to achieve relaxed focus (“in the zone” ). It teaches children to inhibit negative behaviors, to develop focus and impulse control, to reduce their feelings of anxiety, fear, depression, etc.
    I have used this with school age kids also. 
    The great thing is that the brain learns to “shift gears” and once it learns how to do this, it can shift gears in every day life and in the classroom.

  • twig

    The entire community of ‘school’ should have a pre-school seminar including both parents to present, show, experience this material and get parents more involved in kids holistic growth and development – mindfulness can be achieved

  • Moses

    It is no coincidence that many of us in society increasingly turn to prescribed and non-prescribed medications to deal with social and emotional issues. This is to be expected when kids cruise through formative years without learning coping skills, character formation and self-motivation.

  • Karen

    Regarding the caller and his comment on the body and mind, I believe that a part of mindfulness comes from movement of the body. Tai Chi, yoga, dance, sewing, woodworking and even the act of gardening can be a form of mindfulness.  Yet with this knowledge, schools are cutting recess, wood shop and home economics!  

  • Embee

    Taught literacy in a jail. Fellows would claim they couldn’t pay attention because So-in-so was making them mad.Teaching him to take a few deep breaths and that NOTHING out there had more power over him than what he chose to do- was a totally foreign concept- and one that he grabbed and adopted. FREEDOM!

  • S_Franklin

    We were taught perseverance and other character traits in public schools in the 1960s, often using materials that were created in the 30s and 40s. I distinctly remember reading materials distributed that featured Edison and the development of the light bulb, for example. There is nothing new in exposing children to these concepts.

  • Greyman

    Cue the “Twilight Zone” theme NOW: I hear Howard Gardner’s loopy “multiple intelligence” hypothesis lurking in the studio.

  • Ldegroft

    Minfulness is one true life long skill that children can carry beyond graduation.  Why wouldn’t we teach it?  To teachers who claim that these skills should be taught at home, think of techniques such as “Brain Gym,” which are now quite well known and incorpprated into many schools and classes seamlessly.  Having worked in elementary levels for eight years, there are many, many young students who try to self soothe with repetitve throat clearing, bouncing up and down, etc., to which their teachers respond by telling them only to “stop.”  Giving them the tools of mindfullness is so much better.

  • Karen

    I think what I was trying to say in my last comment is that we used to have a form of mindfulness in schools with art, sewing, wood shop and a decent recess!

  • Andy

    While this is a buddhist practice for me, it need not be any more buddhist than breathing or eating for anyone. Silent meditation or observation has been invaluable to me. I started during my 3rd attempt at engineering school. I can have a really low distraction threshold. Training yourself to return our attention to your breathing is effective when you have to return to learning, work, etc.

  • Jakireis

    Some of us are lucky enough to be born into families that are supportive of our natural talents and interests and we are encouraged to develop them as a part of our daily life.  I had a piano in my house, no one else on my block did.   When we go to school, though, we are all in the same environment and should be given the opportunity to take advantage of the wider range of possible experiences to aid in our education. I had a dad and mom who didn’t fight, maybe half of my friends didn’t. I had a mom who instilled shared responsibilities, some had parents who instilled fear. Why would helping children develop any of the behavior/social skills be more frowned upon than any of the other skills we might not have gotten in the home, such as musical skills, understanding what we’re reading skills, public speaking skills? 

    • kak72

      I think the intent of NCLB embraces your concepts.  The operationalization (and politics) of it renounces behavioral/social skills in favor of using high stakes testing as a measure of a successful educational endeavor.

  • Metathustra

     I’d recommend the book Mindfulness In Plain English from Ven. Henepola Gunaratana. This is a great resource for anyone interested in beginning a meditation practice and becoming more aware of the human condition and responsible for the life of one’s inner self. Great show and I so appreciate the scientific interest in this extremely important matter that is so often forgotten in the secular and religious lives of all people.

  • Greyman

    Being mindful this moment of French experience with pedagogy over the last century, I am acutely conscious of a French appellation for public education, variously given as “merde” or as “merdre”, depending on the authority being consulted.

  • Wl_fu

    This is such an important and great topic.  One observation… my 3- & 5-year-olds attend a daycare where (I am very happy to say) they teach “acts of kindness”, emphasize how to be nice to their friends, and teamwork.  There are many parenting books on how to develop your child’s emotional intelligence and resilience.  However, all these emphasis seems to disappear when the kids move up to higher grades as focus shifts to pure academic (like math, science etc).  There are countless debates & new reports on how to raise the academic levels of students but not much on non-academic subjects like emotional skills, mindfulness (this program being one of the first).

  • Lin490

    This could not only help students but teachers as well.  As a teacher I would welcome an opportunity to stop, take a breath and focus a few times a day!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    I thought this discussion would go in a completely different direction – this is not about character building, it’s about providing additional tools to students. Tools that many, many people actively seek beyond school. Some kids will just breathe, some will actually get the mindfullness thing. As long as it’s done well how can this be a bad thing?

  • SLP

    As a teacher of high school students, I can say that I have been teaching mindfulness for years.  I use the word in my class frequently, asking students to be mindful of their words, their actions, and their place.  I ask them to be present in the moment and make the most of where they are.  I ask them to leave any troubles or drama or lunchroom crisis at the door.  I talk to them about interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence, as well as the other intelligences.  I try to create quiet moments for introspection and reflection.  Our school promotes taking care of oneself and each other.  Educators have been teaching character education for years, all the while remembering that the teenage brain is still developing.  The issue here is current culture.  Think about trying to ask a student to be still and introspective (a word many of my 12th graders do not know) in our current culture where kids cannot even go 5 minutes without looking at their cell phones or talking to their neighbors or whatever they are doing that current culture nurtures…constant interaction, constant activity, constant focus on the self but not necessarily in a positive or productive way.  Of course Hawn’s is a great idea, but it isn’t new.  Teachers should get a little more credit for what they do to nurture the whole child, and parents and communities should support those efforts by supporting teachers instead of disparaging them as well as doing their part in the raising of our children instead of leaving it to others.

    • Jc

       I agree. These lessons and ideas are not new, and any good teacher already includes “mindfulness” naturally into the curriculum. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Monkey mind is a great concept when talking about thinking, especially in children.

  • Wendy

    The question for me is why are kids stressed…Could it be that we  are demanding too much from them academically, even before they enter school.  There was a time when we seemed to be dealing with mindfulness in kindergarten.  Now we expect those entering school to already know how to read…and then we assess them to make sure that they really do know how to read and then we assess them to make sure they haven’t forgotten how to read and then we assess them to make sure they are ready for the “rigors” of first grade.  Sounds like a lot of stress to me.

  • Samantha

    that teacher that called that said that all *this stuff* needs to be taught at home

    I absolutely abhor that comment and I am so glad that other teachers called in to present a different point of view.

    As a parent, I think *that stuff* needs to be done both at school AND home.

    I am a strong believer in Montessori and Waldorf’s education.

    It is still mind-boggling to me WHY public schools will not adopt long time tested strategies such as Montessori and Waldorf philosophies that SHOW that kids do so much better in those environments.

    My child is 2 and he is going to a Montessori day care right now and I hope that he would be able to go to a Montessori school.

    Mostly because public education IS so structured and beaten-into the kids.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.guerette Lee Guerette

    wonderful presentation – I teach Cognitive Yoga based on Vedanta at the Advaita Meditation Center – it’s all about mindfullness,  teaching kids how to manange their emotions and energy. I taught these strategies for 10 years at the Parker Charter School.. Lee@cognitiveyoga.com

  • A MOM

    Children with learning disabilities, like ADHD, undergo a great deal of stress in the “normal” school environment.  This depresses their ability to overcome their difficulties.

  • Joanna

    I teach English in Vermont, and EMPATHY is the ultimate goal for all students in my classes.  I use literature as a catalyst for this type of thinking.  The best teacher, I have found, is Atticus Finch.  As he teaches his children through example, the students learn these same lessons:  “First of all,” he said, “if
    you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all
    kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things
    from his point of view-until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” 

    And consider the entire book, “Fahrenheit 451,” by Ray Bradbury.  If you stop and notice things, you disappear like Clarisse.  Through this my students start condering the idea that reading can be meditative.  What if we had no books?  Kids who say they “hate reading” begin defending literature.  They speak with great “fire” saying, “they would burn for books.” 

  • Joanna

     Many schools are moving away from literature or content, and focusing on skills.  Our district is pushing a program that they actually encourage you to set timers, and be strict with time limits during discussion or writing exercises.  I have found that only leads to a stressful experience for students.  Instead, they feel empowered to keep writing, to keep talking, to keep thinking and not be forced to move from topic to topic in rapid succession.  We are also be discouraged from any lecturing.  I think that it can only be detrimental to students, to have no expectations for students to just sit and listen and absorb. 

    Character qualities can be “taught” through literature.  The discussion that comes from books by Harper Lee, Kurt Vonnegut jr. (“There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”), JD Salinger, Tim O’Brien, Zora Neal Hurston, Toni Morrison, and other wonderful authors, are enlightening for teenagers from all walks of life.  Many kids don’t have a base, to build upon, when it comes to character.  They often know, what they don’t want to be or how they don’t want to act, by watching parents that are less than inspirational, but they need to learn what they do want. 

  • Tina

    Even as an adult in a study thru the John Cabot Zinn program, I had trouble with the sitting-still part.  However, when the caller at the end of the show contrasted this Mindfulness approach with just kids being kids physically (something I really, really “believe in”), I’ve noticed that many kids today who ARE visually seen to be “just being kids”, are FILLED with much more stress than many, many kids in the past.  Often, their play does NOT look playful, but looks to be dripping with stress!  I wonder:  what happened to childhood just watching these kinds of play activities.  

    The Zinn program added movement meditation at the end of our study, and I was much more affected by it.  The point (that I can’t make very well, but which was articulated so well by the guests and callers!) is that these programs understand how to instruct in and give access to Mindfulness whether they use the quieter meditation techniques OR the movement techniques.  That contrasts at a deep level with SOME of the high activity levels of some kids today which seems to me to sound and look like it is based on stress and on mimicking that omnipresent stress-giver:  today’s television.  

    Also, I’ve noticed a self-consciousness in a lot of today’s kids while they are playing, as if they are being judged on whether or not their play is “creative”.  That’s a whole other show, perhaps!  

    This was a great show!  Everyone gave their POV so well!  

  • Greyman

    Well, if the matter comes down to optimizing brain chemistry, we can reduce pedagogy further to simple nutrition and culinary prowess. Literacy would find its proper place in human life and culture when we realize finally we only need learn to read recipes and menus, and only enough math to cover ingredients and cookware and their respective market costs. Restaurants can then claim their cult status entirely and unreservedly and become temples of etiquette and food preparation: America soon becomes a new East Asian power, and some benevolent emporer (suitably enlightened) can lead us quickly to the millennial bliss of transcended intellect. O happy day.  

  • gemli

    I’m old enough to detect new-age claptrap when I hear it, even though scientific experts such as Goldie Hawn are involved.  When I was in elementary school in the ’50s, I did pretty well, as did most of my classmates, and we didn’t need the latest metaphysical quick-fix to increase “mindfulness,” whatever that is.  I hear a lot of proponents making a lot of vague value judgments about a hunt in which they most certainly have a dog, and citing anecdotal evidence as proof.  The fact that Scientific American is behind it might have given me pause 30 years ago when it was a solid, respected platform for promoting the popularization of science, but you should read it now, after it became little more than a superficial newsletter seemingly geared to the distracted, scientifically illiterate public of today.  I’m appalled that there were not more voices of dissent calling in, although that might be understandable because I nearly had a seizure listening to this nonsense.  Maybe others weren’t so lucky.  Otherwise, great show.

    • Beta

       Mindfulness meditation isn’t New Age claptrap, by any means. In fact it is supposed to be about separating the useful mental technique from all the hoo-ha. It’s definitely not a quick fix, but it can have a useful effect nonetheless.

      Evidence-based study is an important part of the process, and is being done, which is why Scientific American is covering it. If all that squishy mind/feeling stuff bothers you, perhaps you should be reading Popular Mechanics.

      • kak72

        All the years spent on cognitive processes in the classroom causes people to think that our minds are machines.  It’s too bad, really.  If we can think outside of our minds, life can be pretty interesting. 

    • Bluejay2fly

       I suspect mindfulness is a way of getting children who are over stimulated to slow down. Life for us in previous generations had quiet time built in wether it was church, school, or time with your parents when Dad or Mom said “Be quiet and sit there or I’ll break your neck!”. It is different now, children today just do not sit quietly anymore waiting for something to happen. Life is a blur where there is always something to tweet, download, upload, post, email, play, IM, text, listen to, or watch. In short, I think they are trying to create breathing room in lives which have had that removed by poor parenting, bad social habits, and poor societal values. Unfortunately, most of those who do not learn because they are perpetually distracted will survive by being taken care of by a generous welfare state.

  • http://charlottemeditation.com/index.php Guru Ranjit

    I have taught mindful health in school system which is based on mindfulness meditation and laughter yoga.
    this is what foot ball player of panthers says
    I’ve personally experienced the benefits of meditation and am pleased to endorse the “I AM!” program, which brings meditation to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Guru Ranjit created these classes to give kids new ways to handle stress and peer pressure. I know meditation can help make our schools safer and our students happier.Na’il Diggs
    # 53 Linebacker
    NFL Carolina Panthers

  • margarita assael

    They took prayer out of school–you can’t say Merry Christmas but bring on New Age methods—I am so happy I don’t have young children—

    • Denise

      Meditation is not a religious practice, any more than breathing exercises are. They’re health tools.

      • DR

        Prayer is not the same as meditation. Prayer is more like “wishing,” asking God to grant you a favor or blessing. Meditation is tuning out the static so you can hear yourself think. Big difference. I went to Catholic school and was required to pray before, during, and after class. I have no problem with prayer in private school, but I am completely against it in the public school setting, and I speak as a certified teacher 7-12 and a Ph.D. who now teaches college. Perhaps people should think of meditation as a secular “tool” useful for focusing, not as a dogmatic practice. Substitute the word “mindfulness” for “meditation” and maybe we can solve this debate? 

  • Tom

    I find it weird that OnPoint does a whole show on one of the least well researched and evidenced techniques. Why not do a show about the specific techniques with the most published research?
    Research published in peer-reviewed journals is what is needed in the 21st century.

    From Dr. Fred Travis:
    “The idea for this talk came when I was reviewing a grant to fund the
    application of Mindfulness Meditation to deal with pain in terminally
    ill cancer patients. In the rationale section, the author had 60
    citations to support the use of mindfulness meditation in this grant.
    However, 60% of these references were for studies that used the
    Transcendental Meditation technique as the meditation intervention. Was the author being scientifically dishonest? I don’t think so. Many individuals think that all meditations are the same. Thus,
    many people feel that scientific research using one meditation
    tradition can generalize to effects from any meditation practice. Are all meditations the same?”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l41mBbn4ho


  • Hennorama

    No one can dispute that children are exposed to many more stimuli in today’s society.  TVs, computers, cell phones, music players, video games and other digital devices are an increased part of kids’ lives.  Their brains are exposed to chaos and cacophony, which clearly diverts and divides their attention.

    Anything that can help to improve their focus should be welcomed, regardless of the source of the techniques.

    One downside is that the name for the concept – “mindfulness” – may make adoption more difficult, as there is a bit of a New Age connotation to it.  Perhaps using a more generic term – “attention improvement” or “focus training” or similar might be better.

    Regardless, these simple techniques can be remarkably effective.

    • kak72

      Not certain what is New Age about the term mindfulness.  It makes me think of the phrase “mind your manners,” which has been used for quite a long time.  But I think there are limitations to the term.  This is about more than manners, and is definitely more about paying attention or focusing (those make me think of ADHD programming). 

      To me, mindfulness is a way to incorporate more holistic learning methods into a secular classroom. And that’s not a bad thing, because I separate the concept of religion from the concepts of spirituality/holistic learning processes.

      This all also speaks to Emotional Intelligence concepts, but that can be a bit too “new age” for some. 

      • Benjamin

        I think that “spirituality” should never be included in any high school curriculum. It doesn’t come from a particular religion, but it’s exclusively a religious concept. Spirituality should be able to be a private thing, and when some people are non-spiritual, it should make no difference in the classroom.

        Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is known to be real, learnable, and powerful. Asians, in particular, are commonly astonished that American schools do not teach students how to track and manage their emotional states.

        • kak72

          I respectfully disagree that spirituality is exclusively a religious concept.  Spirituality is part of being human.  It is a personal journey of creating meaning and understanding the world that that does not need to include religion or religious doctrine as a roadmap.  That being said, because spirituality is part of the human experience, one’s religious journey would also include a spiritual journey. 

          The term spirituality may never be uttered. Nevertheless, the journey still exists and a variety of educational methods contribute to it every day. 

          Not everyone has this view, and there’s research and books to support varied viewpoints on the topic.  

          There’s debate about the validity of emotional intelligence as well, though it isn’t as charged as concepts of embodied learning.  One needs to be mindful that emotional intelligence isn’t used as a vehicle for methods of oppressing one’s expression of emotion or opinion, particularly those that may challenge the status quo. 

  • Diana

    I just spent some time reviewing the comments related to today’s program. I would love to have the opportunity to share live on NPR our family’s success with Conscious Discipline/Loving Guidance. Dr. Becky Bailey developed Conscious Discipline/Loving Guidance which encompasses many facets of what today’s listeners and viewers speak of. She mindfully created a social-emotional program for ALL people & relationships. It has been very successful for school-wide implementation. It supports academic, arts & physical education programs instead of replacing them. Recess, P.E., music, media, art, and all of the academic areas benefit naturally from simple (yet brilliant) modifications made within the classroom and school environment. Please take some time to listen to some of her discussions on youtube or the website consciousdiscipline.com.

    • kak72

      Thank you for this post.  I will definitely review the website.  You make an excellent point about not looking at this as extra work.  The concept can be integrated into existing processes in such a way that mandates are satisfied and the whole of the person is addressed.  We only need watch the news to see the outcome of neglecting to foster connectedness, communities of practice, and emotional intelligence. 

  • wakeup
  • Sharan

    I agree with the speakers comments, but I am appalled by her inability to speak.  I counted 24 “sort ofs” a few more “kind ofs” and several “you knows”.  Her message is being obscured by her lack of skill in public speaking.  On the other hand, Goldie Hawn didn’t use one of these oral glitches. 

    • Laraska

      Exactly! I have been aware of  the use of “sort of” as the educated person’s “like.” It’s a space filler, a verbal tic. It makes it hard for me to listen to a lot of the shows on NPR!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1222224200 Janet Dennis

       agreed.  It’s very annoying.

    • Barb Wontellya

      Tough crowd.  Remind me to never do a radio show. 

  • wakeup

    Breath is our connection to life. 
    I think it’s abnormal not to pay attention to our breath.
    We (teachers/parents/community members) need to practice what we wish to see in our kids -kindness, compassion, focus, resilience, persistance, etc.  Having a personal mindfulness practice of some kind is very important.

  • karen

    I am a high school art teacher in NC.  If anyone adds one more thing that we have to do in the classroom, I am done.  No one understands the heartbreaking situations our nations youth are in more then teachers, and it is extreme.  The reality is that we are stretched far beyond what we can do in the classroom already.  We are in a constant state of changing teaching practices.  At some point, I would simply like to be able to teach my kids. Parents have to take responsibility.  Education cant fix everything.

    • Bremanjc

      I totally agree with this.  As a school counselor I see the benefits to teaching these social skills in schools, but when the state mandates just about every minute of our day with instructional requirements, testing requirements, and performance pay and the increase in paperwork required by teachers it blows my mind to think that they will force yet something else onto teachers (most likely while decreasing their pay and job stability).  Parents need to step up to take some responsibility for teaching their children some of these social skills.  The difficult part of that is that so many parents are lacking these skills themselves that there is no place the children will learn them besides in schools. Sigh…. it is overwhelming.

      • kak72

        I don’t disagree with the challenges of teaching and the constraints of curricula and high stakes testing.  However, some of these concepts can be integrated with current practices.  And, we see what can happen when students only learn about acceptable behaviors from their home environment. 

        Teachers and administrators can be mindful, showing students the practice without actually pointing it out as an activity.  Music, art, and other activities teach cooperation and foster community.  Collaborative group projects in the classroom help with the concept of mindfulness, particularly if the group is tasked with establishing their own rules of conduct for the group. 

        There are issues to address with administrative mandates.  However, when something is the right thing to do for the community and society, we should all take the time to invest in the process. 

    • Wm. James from Missouri

      Do you still have “home room” in High School ? Why can’t schools use moments like this to teach students about “how to use their brain” ?

      • Cpalen

        they do.

    • Barb Wontellya

      I work in a public school and empathize with the continuous programs that are assigned to teachers with little or no direction/funding/support.  That said, I have found that forming relationships with my students and allowing them to have a voice has made my job infinitely easier.  It’s like good parenting (and I admit there is a shortage here)…you make the investment in the child up front and then cultivate that relationship.  When kids and/or teachers are stressed or do not want to be there, learning cannot take place.

      I think that if you tried just a few of the ideas mentioned in the radio show (e.g., breathing, getting centered, using a soothing chime as notice between activities), you will soon find a shift taking place.

      The parents also need to be educated, but that’s a whole other issue altogether.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1222224200 Janet Dennis

    I am a high school special services teacher in Idaho.  I have been teaching a curriculum for 16 years that is very similar to what you are talking about.  “Affective Skills Development for Adolescents; Personal and Social Responsibility” by Constance Dembrowsky.  Consistently students say it is their favorite class and  quite often grades go up and absenteeism goes down.  Ironically, the administration has done away with the class to focus more on test building classes.  I was very happy to hear this program as it validates what I have been doing all these years!

  • Stlbob636

    I had to giggle when I heard this program.  This is what Catholic Religous orders have been doing since the invention of the printing press.  This is what I expected when I paid to send my children to Catholic grade and high schools.

    • wakeup

      I went to Catholic school and we did no such thing.

  • Wm. James from Missouir

    This was a wonderful show. Learning to use one’s mind should be the function of every student of any age ! Supporting programs such as mindfulness may someday lead to even more advanced and meaningful mental enhancing techniques in the future.

    • Wm. James from Missouri

      P.S. The Teaching Company offers a course on Mindfulness Meditation. I think I will purchase this course because of this show, even though I am already aware of the benefits of meditation, due to my time with TM some years ago.

  • VinceD2

    Let’s take this one more step. Maybe I missed it but where is the consideration of TV, video games and advertising in this equation.

    It seems that the media are bombarding kids with overstimulating, quickly changing images, there is no time to concentrate on anything, and the games don’t reward anything resembling long term efforts. It is designed to “addict” the kids and keep their attention, but not to develop attention skills.

    • Livelifeawake

       True, kids are reactive. Ba(s) live kids are put in a position to entertain themselves in what ever is available-and yes, getting addicted- in the meantime, which most people don’t realize that’s what they are doing to their kids today. It is said in order to speed up, we must slow down, it’s an eastern concept that works. I think this is what the “Mind Up” program accomplishes, with a wealth of other benefits like appreciation and gratitude. In other words, it’s a good first step to as you mentioned, “over stimulation”.

  • kak72

    I think mindfulness is being used as a substitution for spirituality or holistic learning. Spirituality is different than religion, but the two are so often intertwined that in a secular realm it isn’t readily accepted. The term holistic is often a bit New Age for some, or perceived as clinical.

    I don’t much mind (no pun intended) what it’s called, as long as we are taking the time to integrate strategies that instill a sense of being connected to a community of practice and foster reflective learning.

    As an aside, we also need to be “mindful” of the continued separateness of educators and family.  We may not shelter, feed, or clothe our students, but the lines are blurred when it comes to learning, social responsibility, ethics, morals and values, and the like.  These concepts are not confined to the home environment. 

  • Yolanda Conley

    Your point, well taken. However, I think for those of us that are connected to “Spirituality” …lies the obvious, we know there is a distinction and more than likely, that is why we chose the path. Children are natural believers…less tainted by the argument of religion verses spirituality. Precisely why children will benefit from this new platform of “mindfulness” through silence, exploring and observing nature and exercises in gratitude that “Mind Up” and other innovative programs are incorporating into the school system.

    The argument that this “character” building tool should be taught at home is a worthy statement, but in reality (as I work with women in “transition”) is a daunting task because they too are in much need of help in that area and are not skilled/or in such distress with their own life situation that we would be expecting  the impossible..at least, for the time being

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=686519255 Daniel Healy

     The best teacher is teaching by example. Let’s take a look at the ‘current’ teaching staff and ask, is this the goal we have in mind for the future of our children?

    African-American teachers are 1% of our teaching staff. That’s 50 years after MLK. We’ve certainly learned a lot in fifty years.

     OH, that’s right, most educators reading this will say I’m off topic. Mindfulness is ‘off’  topic. Massachusetts should do something really bold and have lottery hiring. If the basic qualifications are met for each discipline then the prospective teacher’s name goes into a lottery system. Now there, is an example of mindfulness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=686519255 Daniel Healy


    They round the figures UP to two percent. Graciously.

    • TJPhoto40

      Whatever the merit of your other points, yes, they really are not “on point” for this discussion.  You’re trying to use the term “mindful” in the broadest possible way, which unfortunately doesn’t play well with this current topic, so maybe find another forum to bring these other issues up.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=686519255 Daniel Healy

    Educators are the best at obfuscation. Will they ever ‘fix’ what needs to be fixed? Sorry, we’ll have to institute a panel to review this and we’ll set up a committee to decide when we’ll have a meeting. Hopefully it won’t interfere with your ‘summer’ plans. Who’ll bring the desserts? And, could you all list your favorite dishes to bring? Men, don’t worry, we won’t ask you to bake anything.

  • Louis Toledo

    Add martial arts to the mix
    for perseverance, “mindfulness.” and character building. A Physical
    component that works the mind as-well.

  • Dmacy49424

    I hope that this sort of thing will give a coping tool to the next angry person who would otherwise do a mass shooting. I can only hope.

  • Logane77

    Awesome show!  Such an exciting development in education, and the perfect antidote to internet brain induced ADD.   We have been gazing to the China and Europe looking for answers to our failing public education system.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we managed to pull out of this tailspin with a uniquely homegrown American solution?   In all my years of education, it took me a while to figure out that the ability to Focus is the most important part of learning.  In academia and in the real world, you can’t get very much done without it.   

  • TJPhoto40

    Great discussion on a very important topic, and I’m impressed by the developments in this mindfulness approach.  I think it makes perfect sense to incorporate this into regular classroom activity, regardless of the subject area it might fall under.  One suggestion is for tying this in a bit with health and the arts, including a focus on what we eat and the importance of nutrition for a proper energy and alertness along the same lines as this mindfulness approach. (High sugar intact being one key factor in a student’s state of mind.)  Having a school garden to work in, as some schools are already doing, would provide more physical activity with a mindful component as well as introducing the pleasure and the health benefits of good food with children who frequently have food issues affecting their focus in many ways.  Thanks for presenting this topic.

  • karinb5

    I teach this type program for students who have not been able to access the regular public school setting for various reasons. I didn’t truly believe in it the first year but after seeing the 180 turnaround of students who were unmotivated, feeling unsuccessful and unable to self monitor because they just hadn’t been taught the skills, I believe. They love school, feel the positive effects of good behavior and feel the respect of the  teachers who believe in them! We go home exhausted but satisfied that we are changing young lives for the better!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mohammed-N-Razavi/704529743 Mohammed N. Razavi

     As usual, and I am happy to see that everyone here has an opinion. And as usual they don’t know what they are talking about. How do we, as a nation talk to the kids about self control when we, the country, the society have none ourselves, at
    ANY level. And we laud and promote bad behavior, even Reward the same.
    No wonder the panel, the questioners and the comments here are way OFF
    the mark. It is hard to find one fine point to start from, so I will pick one at random. We live in time of ” just do it”, and “have it your way” for starters. We do things for “fun”
    We have a culture where you can not correct someone for their bad
    behavior, start with say President Clinton having an affair, to Romney
    lying about health care, if it is our Christian ethos or pop psychology
    whatever the basis, we must first define some right or wrong for our own
    character. If it is all in the name of, “it is a free country” then we
    must accept our total and abject failure right here. You can not give something, to someone, that you do not yourself posses.
    Before going further let me mention this much. In the name of freedom
    and progress we have become a clueless and ignorant folk that not only
    need advice on parenting, we need advice on that all natural and basic
    act of sex, isn’t progress just great, how in the hell did we ever get
    here? Now, do you really want to educate me on how to teach children
    about self control, in this culture where moms have daily visits with
    there boyfriends, dads run out with their secretaries, children are
    taught the basics of making out on Disney and Nickelodeon. Where bad
    girls and bad boys get rewards, Zack and Cody run the hotel, and
    spending money at the mall is a favorite pass time. Children of three
    and four are brought to the store and told, “get what you want”.

    • Michele

       Perhaps you would benefit from mindfulness.  Not everyone behaves the way you have described above.  Your cynical view of humanity discounts or completely disallows that many people live conscientiously and with great purpose.  Turn off the national news and tune into life…

    • http://www.facebook.com/marie.tropepodell Marie Trope-Podell

       Mohammed, do you know what mindfulness is? Have you researched it? Read some authorities on it? Tried to practice it? Until you do, may I respectfully suggest that you refrain from accusing others of not knowing what they are talking about. Some of us do. And they know what mindfulness is. And they know what it can do. And  for you info, the Kamasutra was written in the 2nd century CE.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mohammed-N-Razavi/704529743 Mohammed N. Razavi

        Don’t break it and then fix is my way of doing things, BTW I am sixty
        years old, I have a Masters in Psychology, Bachelors in Management, 26
        years of marriage, three kids,  two in college, one in high school, twenty years of military service, thirty three years of total federal service, your call whether I may know something. When you are talking about a majority, like I am. It is not generalizing it is facing the facts as they are. Surely my name tells you that yes I do know Kamasutra, thank you for asking. And no, you did not show me what I said wrong.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HDDGFQBRLDFRPI2GCKBMMXU6LE Dominique

       you are totally right.  And I would add yoga in school, give me a break.  If you are Christian teach it at home so your teacher can teach your child at school because he has some basic moral and respect for authority. What ever religion you practice at home pass it on to your kids and don’t think that the school should do that for you too!

  • Kathryn Horne

     What a wonderful show! To address some of the previous comments:

    While it is understandable that teachers feel their days are overcommitted as is, however it’s important to note that published research shows that students who are exposed to these relaxation techniques are more cooperative and ready to learn, thereby increasing productivity and saving time in a classroom.

    Although mindfulness is one excellent way to help children focus, there are other methods, such as yoga, imagery, deep breathing and tai chi, that are equally effective. These different methods speak to the individual learning styles of different students.

    Marilyn Wilcher
    Senior Director
    Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital

  • SEL4Mass

    Social-emotional learning (SEL) is now being advocated for by many educators, school psychologists, social workers and counselors.  In Massachusetts, the SEL Alliance for Massachusetts (www.SEL4Mass.org) has been formed last November, 2011 and already is making progress in moving the SEL agenda forward.  From K-12, a child can be taught the psychological skills necessary to recognize their own emotions, learn how to deal with them and then practice these skills. 

    My congratulations, Tom, on recognizing this important move away from teaching content only.  Violence, addictions and obesity are issues that effect the whole society and breed negativity, hopelessness and a fear of failure.   Effective SEL programming with trained personal and staff can change behavior in our communities if we develop the will to act.

    • http://twitter.com/leeguerette2 lee guerette

      Having been in touch with SEL4Mass – there is a sister site called SEL4NH — just getting off the ground – any help would be appreciated lee@cognitiveyoga.com

  • http://twitter.com/Yoga_Perle Sarah Perle

    Check out Yoga 4 Classrooms!  It’s a great social-emotional learning tool for classroom teachers.  www.yoga4classrooms.com  I’ve taught fourth and second grade and when I got trained in the Yoga 4 Classrooms last year, I used it right away with my second graders and it was fabulous!  

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  • rain314

    I love this interview, but I have to say that I disagree with how Mark in Ontario opens his argument. It is a false separation to say that we have two systems – food/water(gut) and mind. Our gut has over 100 million neurons that are just like those of the brain. Our gut makes all of the neurochemicals that our brain does – our gut communicates with the same language as our brain – so the gut cannot be so separated from the mind. Our mind is everywhere in our bodies, even on monocytes on our white blood cells which circulate through our blood stream.

  • http://www.facebook.com/janice.george.7 Janice George

    A lot of kids are motivated, but the teachers are not very good instructors, and makes the kids feel as if they can’t learn. They need to also be tested as well.

  • Pingback: Why Reading Programs In Massachusetts Are Failing | Cognoscenti

Sep 15, 2014
In this Thursday, Sep. 11, 2014 photo, Middle Eastern leaders stand together during a family photo with of the Gulf Cooperation Council and regional partners at King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Royal Terminal in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

President Obama says he will build a coalition of partners in the Middle East to combat ISIS. We’ll do a reality check on who’s really stepping up for what.

Sep 15, 2014
This Monday, Sept. 27, 2010 file photo shows hikers on the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. (AP/Carson Walker)

Uproar over development plans for the Grand Canyon. We go to the Navajo Nation and the Canyon floor to see what’s at stake.

Sep 12, 2014
In this May 23, 2014, file photo, Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. (AP/Patrick Semansky)

#WhyIStayed. We’re looking at women in and out of relationships of domestic violence.

Sep 12, 2014
President Barack Obama meets with Congressional leaders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, to discuss options for combating the Islamic State. (AP/Evan Vucci)

The President’s ISIS strategy. The Ray Rice video. Congress is back. Apple’s new watch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

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Beverly Gooden on #WhyIStayed
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

Beverly Gooden — who originated the #WhyIStayed hashtag that has taken off across Twitter — joined us today for our discussion on domestic violence.

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Tierney Sutton Plays LIVE For On Point
Friday, Sep 5, 2014

We break out Tierney Sutton’s three beautiful live tracks from our broadcast today for your listening pleasure.

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