Mindfulness and Education

So I saw this article on neural studies of Monks doing meditation and it’s effects on the brain:

http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Stanford-studies-monks-meditation-compassion-3689748.php

I’m presently reading a book on some of this, it’s really quite amazing. There is a sizeable amount of scientific literature which shows that meditative skills and methods have a huge number of positive benefit to the way we think. With that in mind, I wonder how long it will take to get meditation programs into schools. We are all about training the mind but really we’re mostly just teaching facts and not creative ways to think or solve problems.

In present education systems, at least the ones in the west that I am familiar, there is a focus on how much you ‘know’ as opposed to teaching students how to learn it, use it and retain it. I honestly remember very little of my schooling before University, just like most people we retain relevant pieces here and there but the bulk of it has very little use, outside of a pub quiz. Of course it’s good to have a wide spread of subjects at school to help us find what we excel in or enjoy, but what we need is to teach our children some methods ‘of learning’ rather than making them simply ‘memorize facts’

To clarify, there are a number of teachable skills and methods that we can raise attention levels, memory retention and enhance cognition among people. Even a regular 30 minute exercise and 20 minutes of meditation before schooling, every day, could have dramatic results. Mnemonic techniques have also existed for centuries and while they are a way of ‘memorizing facts’ they are a method which would help in every subject, not just one. Conceptual framing, lucid dreaming and many, many more techniques exist, they work, we already have them, they just aren’t taught in schools.

We need to teach the next generation how to think, not in George Orwellian kind of factual dictatorship kind of way, but in a vibrant, dynamic, constructive way. From memory palaces in primary school to meditation and dialogues at college. Let’s try and create better people and better learners and work from there. Let’s try  make a better student rather than a more comprehensive exam, in all honesty none of us have a clue what the world will be like in 20 years anyway, so what the exam is testing for is really to give you grades to get you into the next level. It’s measuring your capability at the time it was taken. Something which will never reflect your ability in the future, nor prepare you for it.

For those worried about religious aspects or indoctrination into a particular faith, like Buddhism for example. Don’t. While religions were the initial creators of these methods they are now firmly being understood and in the realm of science. Just like we don’t teach kids Islamic algebraChristian science or even Hindu Yoga the religious underpinnings have been clipped from these subjects and we focus on the problem solving methodology  or physical benefits they offer. In the future meditation will also be stripped of its religious elements and join the world alongside other subjects.  Meditation is to the mind what the gym or an exercise regime is to the body.

So now that I’ve got that off my chest, any ideas how do we go about getting these methods and meditations into schools?

les sites educatif

aujourd’hui j’ai fait beaucoup. J’ai utilizé les sites-web duolingo et aussi trésbienFrench pendant 3 heures. Ils étaient un peu durs, néanmoins j’ai persévéré, et dans le processus que j’ai vu  il y a un long chemin à parcourir!

En fait, c’est pas tout mauvais, j’ai vu beaucoup l’amélioration aussi; Je suis sûre; si je continue finalment je gagne.

zut alors!

OK, aujourd’hui c’était un cauchemar ou puet-être une catastrophe. Il a commencé avec une erreur de planification. Pas mon erreur, mon client trompe, cependant, il était de mon devoir pour réparer les dégâts. Il a commencé avec le problème que nous n’avions pas de salle, parce qu’il n’etait pas reservé par la gestion. Mais bien que d’être d’une erreur d’accepter mon patron exigeait signatures et a créé une situation embarrassante pour moi et mes élèves; de plus il est créé une mauvaise image de notre école. Je suis tellement fatigué de la politique scolaire, il est temps de réinventer la roue.

Premier essai

Afin, j’ai peur de cet exercise, parce que je sais que mon orthographe, grammaire et structure de la phrase sont très mal. Néamoins, pour améliorer mes compétances et monte et augmenter mon confiance, je sais que j’ai besoin de practiquer. En fait, il faut que j’ai obtenir une bonne niveau, Il n’est pas poli de vivre en France depuis deux ans et toujour pas saisir le langue.

OK, ça suffit pour aujourd’hui. S’il vous plaît laissez une critique dans les commentaires! Et je vous remercie à l’avance!!

Upcoming test = Mad panic

So I have a test in 13 days for my French. Which has put me immediately into panic mode. I think perhaps I should have skipped this one as my level isn’t to a standard where I can truly benefit from the grade I’ll receive.

However, it’s a good exercise in desperation. If I can revise an hour every week day evening (including tonight) and 2 or 3 hours every weekend that will give me around 17-20 hours of preparation time. Also I’d expect with that much work to substantially improve my French.

As part of that exercise I’m going to write a paragraph each day into my Blog. If you’re French or you speak better French than I do, which isn’t too difficult, please correct me. I’ll owe you one!

This amount of study on top of work and projects I am in the middle of will probably be a challenge but I’m actually really looking forward to setting myself something difficult. Here’s to me getting a B1 level in two weeks time!

Oh on that note I thought I’d mention some good websites I have found for studying French

  • www.lyricstraining.com
    • A fun site where you listen to music in French, Spanish, German etc. Then you have to fill in the blanks appearing in the subtitles as you listen to the song. Very good for improving your listening skills
  • www.duolingo.com
    • A new site and a new way of learning a language certainly has my vote as a novel method learning. Check out the review on The Economic Times.
  • www.tresbienfrench.com
    • Far from perfect but with lots of good repetitive exercises that clearly reinforce your ability to remember conjugations and vocabulary. Well worth the very small charge for a subscription (also available in Spanish, German etc).

108

What standards will be used to decide entrance into the community?

While there is an open door policy there must be some form of standards or at least trial period to avoid abuse and allow proper evaluation of new members. Highly skilled lay persons or transitory members will obviously require a different set of standards, if any, in comparison to someone wanting to make a lifetime commitment.

There should be an elected committee and official, both of which are created by draws of random lots, who decide new members. Each case from a retired university professor  or a student who dropped out of school should be considered on their skills, situation and their motivations.

[note:the community is meant to help the next generation and should believe in the ability for all humans, without mental disorders, when given the opportunity have the ability to change themselves.]

107

What balance of time will there be between duties, research, training and leisure?

It should be as much as possible a balance between work and pleasure with exercise simply being considered as part of a daily routine. Regular sabbaticals and times of relaxation and mindfulness should punctuate the working day, week and year and these should be considered as mandatory as physical exercise.

Consistent over-workers should be closely observed to ensure they aren’t destroying themselves out of some perceived obligation; However, some people are workaholics and passionate about what they do, as long as it isn’t detrimental to their performance and health making people relax should be seen as a guideline not an enforcible standard. Work can remain a static amount but shifted between personal research, training and duties.

Study time should also be factored in outside of normal working hours. Regularly, say, every 2 years, members should take at least a month long holiday travelling and absorbing other cultures. Or a quiet retreat to friends and family, a long sojourn in a private retreat. The vacation or retreat would be subsidized by the community and the only rule is that the holiday must recorded and a journal be written of things learnt, This will then be placed into the communities library / wiki / openstreetmap e.t.c. Every map and experience will in this way help add to the whole.

106

What are the principles behind the community?

This has been mentioned numerous times  before but in different forms the core principles, as opposed to purpose, are an ethical (e57), patient, humble, responsible group of researchers whose principle aim is to alleviate the suffering of mankind where it exists, to prepare for the unexpected, and to help the next generations live the best life possible.

These principles translate into everyday life by each member being a hard working, inventive compassionate person who calmly debates and discusses with fellow members.