Mindfulness is something almost everyone has heard of at this point, and something that has been said to have numerous benefits with the ability to be fully present in the moment and tune in to ones own senses. It can be achieved by meditation or yoga, and in this case an online course to help students and teachers in maintaining attention and student engagement. Observing the present moment as it is can be difficult for most people and often times we spend more time focusing on the past or future, and for teenagers, it can be even more difficult due to stress and other distractions. Research has previously been conducted on the effect of mindfulness training on cognitive ability. Some of these studies have worked with women with breast cancer and elite military service members, both of which had shown that cognitive ability improved and were correlated with the mindfulness training they had been performing.
25 high schools around the country have implemented the use of a course that practices mindfulness with personalized attention training to “teach students to focus their minds and manage their emotions so they can succeed academically.” It is developed at the “Center for Mindfulness & Human Potential (CMHP), part of the university’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences” at UC Santa Barbara. The online course involves 12 minute lessons and 4 minute daily exercises, most of which involve music that includes whichever genre they prefer. “We ask students to try to keep their attention focused on the sounds they hear,” explained Alissa Mrazek, who is a senior postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences. “Then when distractions arise, as they inevitably do, it’s an opportunity to practice letting go of that distraction and coming back to the music.” Each activity is designed to help students practice mindfulness in order to improve their ability to focus, and it also had an effect in improving students’ mental health.
The source I found this information from is an article featured by the University of California (https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/surviving-era-unlimited-distraction) and while the research is interesting, I feel like this article in particular seemed to be slightly condescending towards teens and their inability to focus because they’re too busy on their phones. “The unhealthy use of technology” is bolded in the headline, and I don’t really understand why the author felt it was necessary to include that since it wasn’t really mentioned later on in the article, and it doesn’t really make sense since the solution is an online program itself? Something else I noticed, is they mentioned having surveyed students, but no students are quoted in the article who have used the program, it’s just their teachers and those who are researching the program. However, I did appreciate that the research didn’t only look at students ability to focus, but also how there has been such a large decline in teens’ mental health, and I think it’s important that these schools are trying to improve how they treat the matter.
Edit: Sorry the video didn’t work! Not sure how to fix so I just took it out. But it is included in the article from the University of California (4th link) if you wanted to take a look.