Children of the internet and gaming age can overcome short attention spans and significantly improve learning and retention through classroom meditation sessions, according to research that will come under the spotlight at a high level seminar at Thanyapura Mind Centre in Phuket later this month
The same research also suggests that in some cases drugs such as Ritalin, often prescribed by doctors for children with attention deficit disorder, could be augmented or possibly even replaced as evidence mounts to support the effectiveness of meditation as a tool to teach attention and focus.
Mindfulness in education has become a hot topic in global education circles as recent studies point to a strong link between meditation practices and improved concentration and academic performance by students.
Mindfulness in Education is also the name of the sold-out seminar at Thanyapura Mind Centre from October 19-21, 2012. The Mind Centre is Asia’s leading and most unique integrated centre focused on the science and practice of training the mind and works in close partnership with the adjacent sports and fitness resources of the internationally renowned Thanyapura Sports & Leisure Club (TSLC) and the Phuket International Academy Day School (PIADS).
The seminar will be the first major event at the Mind Centre since the recent appointment of US-born James Lawrence as its Director. Mr Lawrence, a meditation and mindfulness adherent with a background in the finance and investing world, stated that Thanyapura had assembled an impressive array of global experts on the subject to deliver not only keynote speeches, but to also lead workshop sessions at the event.
“These meditation techniques were originally developed as foundational components of ancient Asian contemplative practices, but today these techniques taught in conjunction with social/emotional learning are being widely explored in schools and educational systems worldwide,” Mr Lawrence said.
“Research continues to show that mindfulness practices help to decrease stress, attention deficit issues, depression, anxiety, and hostility in children, and at the same time benefit health, well-being, social relations, and academic performance.”
“Numerous studies show that teaching these techniques is profoundly beneficial for the development of children in grades K-12. When learned at a young age, these become lifelong tools supporting awareness, empathy and emotional resilience. How often do we tell our children to ‘pay attention’? Now, evidence-based programs are proving that it is possible, in fact, to train and improve this critical faculty of attention.”
Thanyapura Mind Centre and Phuket International Academy are bringing together leaders in the mindfulness in education field to offer: an overview of the field, experiential mindfulness training and practical tools to implement mindfulness in schools.
Mr Lawrence added: “Participants can expect to leave this training with the inspiration, necessary instruction, and practical tools for bringing these transformative practices back to their schools to foster calm, compassionate, and creative classrooms.”
Tailored breakout sessions will allow for more specialized learning. These sessions will be helpful to a variety of interests and curricula, including IB (International Baccalaureate) and non-IB teachers.
Harvard-trained, Dr. Dan Siegel M.D., author of The Mindful Brain and Parenting From the Inside Out, will deliver a live online keynote talk and Q&A by VDO conference. Dr. Siegel is a leading member of the international psychiatric community and is a faculty member at the UCLA Center for Culture, Brain and Development, as well as being the co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center.
Daniel Rechtschaffen, founding director of the Mindful Education Institute and creator of Mindful Children, will facilitate the conference. Immediately following this conference, Rechtschaffen will lead a Three-Day Intensive Mindfulness in Education Teacher Training.
Other speakers on the subject’s leading edge include Kevin Hawkins, a teacher, principal, school head, and social worker in the UK, Africa, and Europe, Daisy Pellant Ph.D., a mindfulness teacher, counselor and psychologist and currently at the Harvard Mind, Brain and Education program, and Krysten Fort-Catanese, Director of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Mindfulness at PIADS.
Michelle Limantour Seaver, a consultant on mindfulness to PIADS who has also worked in organizational psychology in corporate settings, will share insights gleaned from her participation in the Shamatha Project, the first major study on the physiological, neurological and psychological effects of sustained meditation practice in collaboration with scientists from all over the world, including Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, a winner of the Nobel Prize.
Thanyapura CEO Nick Seaver said the seminar’s topic was right at the cutting edge of education debate and attendance was a ‘must’ for any teacher who has ever faced problems with children’s attention spans or learning abilities. “The New York Times, USA Today and Britain’s The Daily Telegraph have all recently run lengthy features on mindfulness and its amazing success in the classroom. I strongly urge all teachers to come along and learn how to equip themselves with these amazing techniques.”
For more information of the Mindfulness in Education seminar please see: http://www.thanyapura.com/