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Cover of Fostering Mindfulness

Fostering Mindfulness: Building Skills That Students Need to Manage Their Attention, Emotions, and Behaviour in Classrooms and Beyond

By Shelley Murphy. Pembroke Publishers, 2019. 167 pages, $24.95.
Tanushree Krishnanand

Fostering Mindfulness is a great resource for educators interested in learning more about mindfulness activities and strategies for helping students learn self-regulation and stress management. Author Shelley Murphy explains the importance of bringing our full attention to our experience in the present moment. With many of us consuming a great deal of digital content, we do not have as many opportunities to experience mindful moments. Educators can help students settle down, calm down and tap into deeper experiences of stillness for their social emotional learning. However, Murphy cautions educators not to use mindfulness strategies as a tool for managing behaviour.

Murphy encourages educators to start with themselves, to make mindful practices part of their daily practice and self-care routine. When teachers bring their own internal calm to the classroom, they enhance relationships and build resilience. An integral part of being mindful is learning to recognize our feelings, name our emotions and respond more thoughtfully to how we are feeling. Murphy cites research, writing that when students develop personal life-long mindfulness practices, they change the structure and function of their brains in beneficial ways that increase their social emotional learning.

The book is divided into eight parts. One can start anywhere. Each part is resplendent with research-based practices to foster mindfulness, with rationale, tools and lessons to implement them. Each part focuses on benefits of one mindfulness strategy, testimonials from teachers and information on how to implement each strategy. Educators will find creating a Peace Corner and activities on Gratitude Practice helpful. This book is a comprehensive resource with activities for all age groups, step-by-step instructions for guided mindful movements, activity cards, blackline masters, scripts for recognizing, naming and managing emotions and lessons to practice everyday gratitude.

Tanushree Krishnanand is a member of the Durham Occasional Teacher Local.