Tag: mindfulness in education

Non-Invasive Teaching

“Non-invasive teaching” is a term I developed to describe a variety of teaching modalities which avoid giving direct orders such as “Come to the blackboard and show me…”, and group orders, such as “Now we are all opening our books…”. I developed guidelines for non-invasive teaching” based on Maria Montessori, Klaus Dieter-Caul, Reggio Emilia, and Rebeca and Mauricio Wild’s approaches. All non-invasive teaching supports the unique physical, emotional, and intellectual state of a child by using a variety of teaching skills and tools. here are a few insights into the many ways we teach at Rebeca Wild based (RWB) schools.

a. We prepare hands-on learning environments.
Environments can inspire the natural acquisition of academic, practical and social skills. The classroom becomes a ‘third teacher’.

b. We let children play.
We prepare environments for pretend play, dramatic play, imaginary play, block play, and movement play. We don’t interrupt children’s play unless it is necessary – learning and emotional processing naturally occurs during play. We assist free play with clear boundaries and help during potential conflicts.

c. We nourish genuine curiosity and willingness to learn.
We offer group and individual lessons by asking each child if they would like to participate. Only the children who are genuinely interested join the lesson. This way disciplinary issues are minimized, and our teaching remains non-invasive.

d. We let children imitate us.
We collaborate with the children’s natural instinct of imitation and genuinely enjoy what we teach. We show a new concept or skill as often as needed. We narrate your activity step by step, and give instructions in simple terms. By narrating simultaneously, terminology becomes clear and can be correctly absorbed.

e. We have time and patience for learning processes.
Steps in the learning process are not seen as mistakes that need to be corrected immediately, but as precious steps in the process of acquiring a new skill. When the child is shown the correct way again, they receive a chance to self-correct.

f. We use non-invasive, non-manipulative language.
E.g. Instead of “Look at this house!”, we often say “What do you see?” . We ask friendly questions, accept a different point of view, and also allow a child to say “no” to our offer.

g.  We use compassion, empathy, and authentic communication instead of punishments and rewards.
We are aware that punishments can create deep, unforgettable wounds that can condition a child for life, so we eliminated all punishments from our schools. Of course, we educators state boundaries and expectations. However this happens in kind and firm ways by informing a child as often as needed, and by helping a learner process root emotions and causes as well as establish different behaviors.

Of course, in RWB schools, we adults are also constantly learning and growing along-side the children. We learning companions meet regularly after school hours to support each other and give each other helpful feedback. We keep in touch with our own inner children to better understand our students, and it is not always easy! Yet, it’s worth it! Our schools truly are learning places for everyone not only the children.

Fostering Mindfulness in the Classroom with Hands-on Learning Materials

Mindfulness in the classroom can be achieved by offering work with hands-on learning materials. The movement for mindfulness in education enhances the student’s ability to relax and pay attention through meditative exercises. Utilizing a great variety of hands-on learning materials in classrooms is a practical extension to meditative exercises. It’s another way to help students concentrate on their thoughts and activities.

Children achieve mindfulness almost effortlessly when they get the opportunity to interact with a material that speaks to their natural ability to play and explore. The materials enable students to work at their own pace and choose various degrees of difficulty for themselves.

Materials can be offered for child-directed learning or to support teacher-guided lessons. The materials give teachers an opportunity to include play and exploration while acting in accordance with the requirements of the curriculum. Children can touch and play with math (the decimal system, addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, square-roots, fractions, geometry, algebra …), language (vocabulary, phonetics, semantics, grammar: parts of speech, parts of sentence, composition…), biology, physics, history, geography and more.
Almost all topics of the curriculum can be taught with hands-on learning materials, as most lessons are basically abstractions of the world around us. Children understand ‘abstract’ concepts immediately, when they are not so abstract anymore!

The Spirit Rock Meditation Center (Marin, Ca.) invited New Learning Culture’s mobile learning center to offer mediation practitioners, mostly parents and teachers, an introduction to the infinite possibilities of achieving mindfulness with hands-on learning materials. I will let you know when the learning center will be there again!

Please contact me if you would like to know more!
With joy,
Carmen Gamper