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Monthly Archives: October 2019

Shauna Shapiro: The IAA Model of Mindfulness

Shauna Shapiro explains what she sees as the three core components to mindfulness: intention, attention, and attitude.

Shauna Shapiro, Ph.D., is a professor at Santa Clara University, a clinical psychologist, and internationally recognized expert in mindfulness. With 20 years of meditation experience studying in Thailand and Nepal, as well as in the West, Shapiro brings an embodied sense of mindfulness to her scientific work. She has published over 100 journal articles and book chapters, and co-authored the critically acclaimed book, The Art and Science of Mindfulness, as well as her recent co-authored book, Mindful Discipline: A Loving Approach to Setting Limits and Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child.

Dr. Shapiro is the recipient of the American Council of Learned Societies teaching award, acknowledging her outstanding contributions to education, and has been invited to lecture for the King of Thailand, the Danish government, and the World Council for Psychotherapy in Beijing, China. Her work has been featured in WiredUSA TodayOxygenThe Yoga Journal, and the American Psychologist.

Shapiro, Shauna. “Shauna Shapiro: Profile.” Shauna Shapiro Profile, Greater Good Magazine, 2019, greatergood.berkeley.edu/profile/shauna_shapiro.

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[emily]

I chose this video because it speaks to me on a personal level. I thought the example of the beach day with her son was perfect testament to how a lot of us live our lives; With good intent that can sometimes be overshadowed by our lack of attention and attitudes. It is important to be aware of all of these elements in order to live a mindful lifestyle. 

Why Don’t We See More Cognitive Science in Education?

A guest blog post entitled Why Don’t We See More Cognitive Science in Education? by Amy Cummings, submitted to and published by Education Week

I spent a good portion of last year cooped up in the Teacher's College library furiously reading cognitive science journal articles and thinking about ways that I would use their findings to one day transform America's classrooms. Ha.

I've been working as a research assistant in education policy for about eight months now, and I can't think of one article that I read in graduate school to be helpful in thinking about education reform. In fact, as I write this now, I can only remember what a handful of the hundred-plus that I read (okay, at least skimmed) were even about. But with my fancy cognitive science degree I can tell you that's just a product of classic memory decay.

I refuse to believe that the entirety of what I learned last year is simply useless for education. So, in preparation for writing these blog posts, I spent some time last week recovering these decayed memories by sifting through old lecture notes, reading assignments, and papers I'd written. And as it all comes back to me, I keep asking myself, why don't we see more of these findings applied in education? After all, my degree program was called cognitive science in education.

Well, the fact that I haven't encountered or applied any of this information in my time working "in education" suggests that this research just isn't making it into the policy conversation. (And there are certainly questions about whether it should be part of the policy conversation—I'll leave that up for debate in the comments section.)

But a larger problem is that these findings aren't making it into conversations at the school or classroom level either—where people are making the "in education" part happen. I can speak from first-hand experience here as well. Back when I taught high school, my professional learning team sure didn't spend our collaboration time seeking out, reading, or discussing academic journal articles about cognitive science. We had more than enough lesson planning, standards alignment, and paper grading to take up that time—and then some.

The gap between what I learned in graduate school and what I've actually used "in education"—both as a research assistant and as a teacher—strikes me as troublingly wide. Especially when there are valuable lessons to be learned. Here are just a few selected findings from my recent retrieval effort:

1.

Spacing out learning leads to better memory than massed practice.

Testing gives better memory than simply reading information. This is called the "test effect."

2.

Having learners generate information leads to better memory than when they are told that information.

Learning is best when this knowledge construction is done collaboratively.

3.

People remember more when tested in the same physical or emotional context as they learned the information, so for learning to "stick" students should learn and be assessed across varying contexts.

4.

Spreading information over multiple channels (e.g., visual, auditory, haptic) reduces cognitive load and helps with comprehension and memory. Having students teach one another aids reading comprehension and memory of texts.

Now, many of these findings may seem obvious. And many great teachers already apply these in their classrooms. But the reality is that teaching and learning in too many of today's classrooms do not follow many of these findings. In fact, if I use the above list as a checklist, I'd probably grade my own teaching a "C" at best.

What, if anything, should be done about this? I'm certainly not calling for any big federal mandates for teaching and testing kids in different classrooms or creating new teacher-evaluation standards that include cognitive science indicators. But there's no reason that degree programs—at the graduate or undergraduate level—should be this siloed and far-removed from the very fields they're meant to influence.

The reality is that most teachers will not go on to get master's degrees in cognitive science. And a majority of people who study cognitive science, even at the Ph.D. level, will not become professors. They will leave the academy and have to apply what they have learned. And it's not just cognitive science that faces this challenge: The same could be said for a number of other education-related fields. Maybe there isn't a direct role for policy to play here, but it needn't take policy to encourage the academy to be more purposeful about preparing students for what comes after degree completion—whether that's teaching, research, advocacy, politics, or philanthropy. It's time for the academy to more purposely bridge the theory-practice divide and put cognitive science back in education.

Full Article:


Why Don’t We See More Cognitive Science in Education?


 BY Amy Cummings


Cummings, Amy. “Why Don't We See More Cognitive Science in Education?” Education Week - Rick Hess Straight Up, 26 Mar. 2018, blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rick_hess_straight_up/2018/03/why_dont_we_see_more_cognitive_science_in_education.html.

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[emily]

I chose this article because it seemed like an interesting perspective from someone with experience in both Cognitive Science and Education. It also has a lot of interesting information about cognitive science as a whole.

Social Media and Anxiety

An excerpt from Social Media’s Impact on Students’ Mental Health Comes Into Focus by Kira Barrett

According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, 95% of teens use a smartphone, and 45% say they are online almost constantly. About 70% of teens are on Snapchat and Instagram, while 85% are on Youtube.


One would think all this near constant “socializing” would make teens feel more connected than ever before.


In her classroom, says teacher Cori McAbee, the opposite is true.

"Social media has crippled my students when it comes to interacting with one another in person. Their very ability to communicate is deteriorating"

- Cori McAbee -
11th Grade English Teacher
Rutherford County, North Carolina

The very definition of “social” media may be misleading, according to experts who are finding that the more time teens spend on social media, the lonelier and more anxious they are.

There’s a correlation between smartphone usage and lower satisfaction with life, according to Jacob Barkley, professor of health sciences at Kent State University.

“Interaction on social media is not beneficial. It’s electronic,” explains Barkley, who has been studying smartphone use and students since 2013. “The higher the cellphone use, the more time spent on social media, and the higher the anxiety. Peer relationships actually get worse the more you use your phone.”

Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, reached similar conclusions in 2017. In her study, Twenge discovered that students who spend more time using smartphones and other electronic devices are less satisfied with their lives than students who frequently engage in face-to-face interaction.

"We found that teens who spent five or more hours a day online were 71% more likely than those who spent less than an hour a day to have at least one suicide risk factor”

- Jean Twenge -
psychology professor

​San Diego State University

​Overall, suicide risk factors rose significantly after two or more hours a day of time online,” Twenge wrote in 2017.


If teens were to follow up high social media usage with lots of time spent socializing in person, the effects perhaps wouldn’t be so adverse. But in most cases, they aren’t. It turns out, liking a post, commenting “Cute,” or keeping up with a “snapchat streak” isn’t the same as catching up. It’s not even close. Yet too many teens, according to these experts, are substituting real life interactions for instagram posts, and paying the price.


Because research into social media and education is still generally in its infancy, many educators are still trying to fully understand the effects of these technologies. Social media can be an effective teaching tool, but many educators are alarmed at the role it plays in heightening student anxiety and stress.

Full Article:


Social Media’s Impact on Students’ Mental Health Comes Into Focus


 BY KIRA BARRETT


Barrett, Kira. "Social Media's Impact on Students' Mental Health Comes Into Focus." NEA Today. 03 Oct. 2018. 15 Oct. 2019 <http://neatoday.org/2018/09/27/social-media-impact-on-students-mental-health/>.

Account Associate

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[Emily]

I chose this article because technology is such an important part of our daily lives, and the lives of our youth. It is crucial to understand the correlations this has with our mental health and how much everything differs from when we were in school.

Meditate at Your Desk

An excerpt from Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership by Janice Marturano

Most of us spend a great deal of time sitting behind our desks, or in conference rooms or colleagues’ offices, so having a short practice that helps you refresh your attention while at work can be beneficial. What I call the “desk chair” meditation gives you a way to incorporate a short mindfulness practice into your day.

This meditation can be done anywhere you are able to sit quietly and practice.

If you work in an open office (or classroom), you may need to be creative to find a quiet place to practice. Many people have told me that they’re best able to do this practice by leaving their office and finding an empty conference room, or even leaving the building to sit in their car during part of their lunch break.


The “desk chair” part need not be taken literally. This meditation can be done anywhere you are able to sit quietly and practice—be it the staff room, a park bench, or even an airplane seat.

1.

Begin by bringing your attention to the sensations of your breath.

2.

When you’re ready, direct your attention to the soles of your feet, opening your mind to whatever sensations are there to be noticed.

3.

Perhaps you are noticing the pressure on the soles of your feet as the weight of your legs rests on them. Perhaps the soles of your feet feel warm or cool.

4.

Just notice. No need to judge or engage in discursive thinking. If your mind is pulled away or wanders, redirect your attention, firmly and gently.

5.

Move your attention next to the tops of your feet, ankles, lower legs, knees, and so forth.

6.

Gradually scan through your body, noticing sensations, noticing discomfort, and noticing areas of your body where you detect an absence of sensations. No need to search for sensations; just keep scanning through your body, taking your time and being open to what is here.

MIC Note: Head over to the full article to listen to a “Desk Chair Body Scan Practice” guided mediation.

Full Article:


Meditate at Your Desk


 BY JANICE MARTURANO


Marturano, Janice. "Meditate at Your Desk." Mindful. 01 Oct. 2019. 08 Oct. 2019 <https://www.mindful.org/meditate-at-your-desk/>.

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[Emily]

This article is great for those who think "I don't have time." Classrooms can be stressful, so being able to squeeze in a practice during lunch or between classes can the reset you need for a successful day. 

I Don’t Like Meditating. Here’s Why I Do It Anyway

An excerpt from I Don’t Like Meditating. Here’s Why I Do It Anyway by Jason Brick


As much as I’m loath to admit it, I’m not a fan of meditation. It comes unnaturally to me, despite my 36 years of martial arts study and interest in self-improvement, health-hacking, and general enlightenment.


I realize this speaks poorly of me as a person, kind of like my opinions on aikido, jazz music, pumpkin pie, and “A Prairie Home Companion.” That I’m not fond of them doesn’t mean they’re bad, it means I’m not as good as I could be.


Worse yet, when I do regularly meditate, I find my life is better. Stress is lower, my health improves. I can focus more on my work, and am less likely to say things I regret to my friends, colleagues, and loved ones. Problems seem smaller. I seem bigger.


And I’m not alone. Over the past few decades, a host of research has supported the conclusion that meditation is good for us, and that we should all meditate a few minutes each day.

 ​

Problems seem smaller. I seem bigger.

1.

Meditation has been found again, and again (and again) to reduce stress, with all the physical, social, and emotional benefits that provides.

2.

Multiple studies have found meditation can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.

3.

In 2003, researchers learned that regular meditation helped to boost immune function.

4.

Meditation can help control pain, according to several studies, including these in 2016 and 2017.

That’s just the tip of that particular iceberg. Bottom line: meditation is good for me, and for you, no matter how much we might not want to do it. Kind of like eating a vegetarian meal once or twice a week.


Read more from the full article through the link below.

Full Article:


I Don’t Like Meditating. Here’s Why I Do It Anyway


 BY Jason Brick


Brick, Jason. "I Don’t Like Meditating. Here’s Why I Do It Anyway." Healthline. 25 Mar. 2019. 30 Sept. 2019 <https://www.healthline.com/health/enlightened-meditation#1>.

Director of Strategic Communications

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[nekiesha]

I choose this article because it speaks, in plain language, about the struggles with meditating for those first trying, and even those who are seasoned. It's a real talk article, and I think our members would enjoy hearing his perspective and relate.

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