Monday, November 29, 2010

Fostering Curiosity and Managing ADHD in the Classroom

Baca Juga:

I have been meditating for twenty five years. It is a daily ritual as important to me as sleeping and eating the right food. One metaphor to describe meditation is to imagine you are looking at your thoughts as if they are clouds drifting across the sky. These thoughts may be troubling or pleasant. When you let something that is troubling you be like a cloud in the sky-neither good nor bad-you allow yourself to become free from the intense emotions surrounding these problems. In the process, you become more open to being creative, alert, sensitive and flexible. When you practice meditation, you allow yourself to have many new experiences because you are overcoming things that normally bother you. Meditation is a challenging practice, but well worth developing for this reason and many others.

Several months ago an idea came to me as I was meditating. I teach math at a local high school in the Berkshires of Western, Massachusetts, USA. If you yourself have recently visited a high school, you know the chaos that ensues when one period is over and the next is about to begin. All the students simultaneously erupt into an energetic cacophony as they move to their next class. At the beginning of each of my math classes, the students enter the room, loud, boisterous, and oblivious to me and the classroom environment.

In my meditation, I saw a vision of my students sitting quietly for five minutes at the beginning of my lessons. Could this really work?

The next day I tried it out with my ninth, tenth and twelfth graders. I asked my students to come into the room, take their books out and simply sit there quietly. I insisted this was their time to do nothing. No expectations were put on them at all. They had this time to simply arrive and relax. I emphasized that they could not interfere with any other student in the process. Everybody was entitled to this "down time," to tune into their needs and feelings so as to refresh before starting a new lesson with a new teacher and peers.

After some experimentation, it soon became obvious that five minutes was too long for some students - especially those with ADHD, ADD. Many of these students found silence and stillness uncomfortable. I knew from my own meditation experience, that the effort to be still and silent is one that's worth making because of the benefits it brings. Even short periods of stopping and being silent are powerful pivot points to change the dynamics of stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety are the number one causes for preventing creativity and curiosity in the classroom!

I call this student meditation time "Sink and Think.™" I modified it to one minute. Sometimes in a very natural way it extends beyond one minute. Since I introduced Sink and Think™ two months ago, my students now look forward to and appreciate this quiet time. Amazingly, chatting, goofing around and roaming eyes have all been superseded by a still, silent and curious class of students. Within 30 seconds there is pin drop silence. We can hear other classes in the distance, the ticking of the clock on the wall and the thoughts bouncing around inside our own heads. Students either have closed eyes, soft gazes, or they just watch me, anticipating what will come next.

Since introducing Sink and Think™, I have noticed dramatic shifts in the way students respond in the classroom. It has also changed my teaching style in a way I could never have imagined. The students themselves describe the experience in ways that are striking. They say: "the chaos settles"; "I feel peaceful as I enter the room"; "I am not overwhelmed when I start to work"; "I am curious what the lesson will be"; "I took 3 seconds off my personal best by meditating before the swim meet"... and the list goes on. This has become a modality I'm now implementing as part of my CORE Strength™ for Students approach to teaching.

Sink and Think™, has been a transformative classroom experience. It has impacted both me and my students, revealing the intrinsic value that silence brings. Respect, care, curiosity, creativity, self-confidence and self-management are just a few. Perhaps the most remarkable thing I have noticed is that students who suffer from ADHD are notably much calmer and more attentive throughout the entire period. The students' natural curiosity arises, as they connect with their own inner desire to listen and discover.

Please forward this to a friend, teacher or student you know.

Stay Strong

Lawrence Carroll As a Life Coach I am helping people achieve their dreams, goals and visions. For services and information check out my website at

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