Spring 2017

ATPE News is the official publication of the Association of Texas Professional Educators, the largest educator association in Texas. The magazine addresses the most important issues affecting public education in the state. Learn more at

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Page 9 of 43

10 ATPE NEWS KNOW AND TELL Mindfulness Strategies for the Classroom BY JAMES BUTLER, AUSTIN ISD SEL MINDFULNESS SPECIALIST, AND EMILY HOALDRIDGE-DOPKINS, AUSTIN ISD SEL SPECIALIST I t's no secret that teachers have a lot to accomplish every day. Integrating social and emotional learning (SEL) into class routines provides students with valu- able life skills and can help make learning more efficient. SEL helps improve class relationships, which fosters learning across content areas. Mindfulness is a tool that supports SEL in and out of the classroom. A practical definition of mindfulness is "right here, right now: paying attention on purpose, responding, and being kind to yourself." In Austin ISD, one of the nation's leaders in SEL, mindfulness is being implemented in one way or another on nearly 100 campuses, and the number keeps growing. A common misconcep- tion is that mindfulness is mostly a self-regula- tion tool. However, when practiced consistently, mindfulness increases proficiency in the five core competencies of SEL (created by CASEL, an organization that supports SEL in schools). SELF-AWARENESS: Enhances your ability to focus attention and im- proves self-compassion SELF-MANAGEMENT: Increases emotion regulation skills SOCIAL AWARENESS: Increases empathy by helping the individual regulate emotions rather than getting overwhelmed during difficult situations RELATIONSHIP SKILLS: Increases compassion and deep listening RESPONSIBLE DECISION MAKING: Increases cognitive flexibility and creativity Why:

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