By Souls of Silver
Schools have always been the place where alongside an education, we also derived the values and skills that shaped the lives we lead as adults. None of us can admit that the environment in our school, the peer pressure, punishments and the behavior of our teachers did not contribute to what we are today as individuals.
Pittsburgh Schools themselves have always been aware of this responsibility they bear in shaping children into mature adults ready to take on the world. But gone are the days of the cane, when one toe out of line, and you would end up in detention or worse, be subjected to corporal punishment.
With scores of researches into child psychology revealing the harm done to children by torture in the name of disciplining in schools, educationists have given up on being strict disciplinarians. New strategies like counseling have been in place to help children with anomalies in behavior, for quite some time now.
In recent times, public schools in Pittsburgh are facing new challenges as they struggle to make hours spent at school, fruitful and enjoyable for youngsters. Many children fail to negotiate the pressures of the public education system and fall victims to stress. Social pressures from peer groups also contribute to low self-esteem and depression.
As the myths that “stress is good and boosts performance” are falling apart, schools like North Allegheny have joined the league of forward-thinking educationists to introduce mindfulness practices to help students cope with the anxieties caused by the demanding academic set-up.
Mindfulness to Inculcate Compassion
The increasing spate of school shootings in the United States and the consequent rise in security mechanisms and measures like drills have made the ambiance in schools more stressful than ever. Administrators are baffled by the rising tendencies of students to resort to violence and are forced to look for means to dissipate hostilities and instill compassion and kindness.
The public school system is extremely hopeful that mindfulness will prove to be the key to a peaceful school environment. Helping student and staff overcome barriers to healthy communication, it also assists the school authorities to mold the faculty into an efficient and calm support-system for the students.
Stephanie Romero, a former teacher and one of the main forces behind the Awaken Pittsburgh movement admits that compassion fatigue among teachers is a reason for the breakdown of communication between students and teachers. Mindfulness trains the mind to reflect before reacting, so it leaves teachers more emotionally equipped to ensure healthy interactions with students; with their own emotions and stress reigned in, educators can avoid knee-jerk reactions and prevent altercations from turning into long-standing animosities.
Robert Coleman Elementary in Baltimore, Maryland and Success Achievement Academy of Arkansas have gone new-age, encouraging students to meditate instead of putting them in detention.There is no proof that punishments are effective in soothing the anger and frustration pent up in children. More often than not, these measures make those with behavior anomalies feel further victimized and alienated and keeps the chain of resentfulness intact.
Since the entire purpose of mindfulness rests in making the practitioner aware of the present moment, it has been a grand success in making students reflect over their behaviour and manage anger better, cool down after a heated exchange.
Easy Way to De-stress
Mindfulness is one of the easiest tools out there to monitor emotional well-being. At Pittsburgh King PreK-8, teachers themselves guide students in meditation, instructing them in body scans and other techniques which give a boost to the in-there feeling.
It is one of the healthiest mechanisms to de-stress and study your own thoughts and feelings. Instead of drowning under the pressure of stress and negativity, students discover a new level of confidence to go about the world, what with their mind in control.
Please share this article with your friends and family and let them know about this amazing initiative by Pittsburgh schools.