Guidance Lesson - D. Reflection

2. Guidance Lesson

How did students change as a result of the lesson? 

  • Data-wise we were able to see some improvements reflected in students Math test results as well as some minor reductions in test anxiety indicated by student responses. However I believe the true changes go much further than that. In our office we have regularly been seeing students for anxiety throughout this entire year. Since doing these lessons there seems to be fewer cases of students seeking out help due to their anxiety. While we cannot be certain that our lessons have helped, there seems to be a change.
  • The other big change is the learning that I could see happening during the lesson itself. There were several built-in informal checks on students’ learning. For example I asked questions like what are the mindfulness techniques that we have learned about so far? By the end of the second lesson I was able to tell that all students had identified a mindful technique that seemed to work out for them. The interesting part is that each homeroom seem to identify a different technique as their favorite. I am not sure if that is because of the way that the lesson was perceived or due to personality differences within the class.

What worked? 

  • These lessons worked remarkably well and definitely improved throughout the two weeks that they were taught. They started off by introducing the topic of mindfulness with a video that allowed students to hear the information from a different point of view. We then facilitated some discussion as we took a look at what mindfulness looked like. Students were attentive and participated in our analysis of if mindfulness was being practiced or not. 
  • One thing that stood out to me was how every student seemed to participate in the mindful practice that we did. We had a series of 8 techniques set up and I lead them through each one. They all seemed to follow along and actually enjoy talking about the techniques and how they made them feel. The one that seemed the easiest for students to grasp was definitely the deep breathing exercises, but the one that got the students closest to a mindful experience was probably the By the Sea Exercise. For the By the Sea exercise students were asked to close their eyes while we listened to a track of the beach, with the sounds of the waves and gulls in the air. I had students do this for 1 minute and when I broke the silence it was almost like waking them up from a dream. I was very hopeful that they would be able to remember that experience and how it made them feel so that they could repeat it when they needed to.

What would you do differently next time? 

  • The nice thing about doing something 4 different times is that you are able to make small changes in-between lessons that can make a bit of difference. For these lessons I changed little things such as the phrasing and timing of questions for the students. These small changes allowed for the lessons to have a greater impact on the students and hopefully for the lessons to cause greater change. 
  • I do wish that I had more time to be able to expand on these lessons so that I could build even more understanding with the students. They just seemed to be getting the hang of things and then our time together was over. I would probably attempt to have them practice some techniques in small groups or even have them come up with their own situation in which they could use a mindful technique. I think assigning a reflection lesson or assignment might be useful as well. This will allow students to really apply what they have learned to their own life, after all that is what we are really after anyways. 

How has this activity impacted you?

  • Teaching classroom lessons is incredibly exhausting, however I absolutely love doing it. Getting into a classroom in front of a bunch of students and teaching them something new is definitely what I miss the most about being a classroom teacher so I am always glad of the opportunities to still teach as a counselor. Besides enjoying teaching these lessons, I did find myself learning a decent amount about mindfulness myself. Still a few weeks out from the event I find myself employing my own mindfulness techniques when I am faced with some adversity. This goes to prove that these lessons are very applicable to people of all ages and for them to use in lots of different situations.
  • This was also my first attempt at administering a set of related lessons to my 7th graders. It gave me some experience connecting themes over the course of weeks instead of just days as a teacher would do. It also allowed for me to practice reviewing concepts with the students and to try to build a long-term narrative that will provide lasting learning with them. It gave me some of the push and the confidence that I needed to continue group lessons with them.

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