The Times Misunderstands Mindful Classrooms

The Times covers a new trend and it misunderstands what mindful classrooms are all about. Elizabeth Harris writes about what's going in NYC schools and gets it wrong at many key points.

For starters, the title misleads. In the print edition it is, "City Classrooms Give Pupils a Moment to Turn Inward." Well, that is not what mindfulness is all about.

And so, perhaps someone figured that out by the time it got online and there the headline became, "Under Stress, Students in New York Schools Find Calm in Meditation."

And even that is not the essence of the practice of mindfulness. Most people who have not practiced mindful meditation misunderstand what it is.

Here is one bad part of the article:
Donna Hargens, the superintendent of the Louisville district of Jefferson County’s public school system, said that in classrooms a teacher’s reflex is to say, “ ‘Focus! Why aren’t you focusing?’ But what does that really mean, and have we given them any tools to help them do that?”
Mindfulness is not about focus. It's about awareness of everything around you and inside of you. It's the opposite of focus. It's openness. Knowing and recognizing what is going on in your head and near your body. And then, taking control of that environment and those forces and letting them go!

When you do that, and you must do that, then you can turn to the essentials in front of you and feel their presence without hearing all the noise that deters you from it.

So the Times gets it wrong. See that, hear that, read that, and let it go.

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