Hello from guest blogger, Lisa Robinson! If you’ve been following my posts, you know that I’ve been following an 8-week mindfulness program. I still am, and will give you another update about that soon. This week, however, I want to return to mindfulness in education because I’ve found something too good for me to keep to myself.
The link below is to a post on www.edutopia.org by Professor Maurice Elias. He discusses the work of Irving Sigel, who found that the way we ask questions to students can enhance their social and emotional development.
Instead of asking a closed question that leads to a yes or no answer, ask an open-ended question that encourages the student to apply their current understanding and use critical thinking. This can help the student to deeply consider their awareness of self and others, and to understand the consequences of taking one action versus another.
Another method is to follow one question with a second one that encourages thinking more deeply about one’s responses and what they really mean. This is powerful; I wish I had this method in my toolkit a few years ago when my stepson who is now almost 16 would answer just about every question with, “I don’t know.”
So, my excitement grows as I think about how adults can also benefit from learning that comes from deliberate critical thinking. I could write many posts going into details about neuroplasticity, where learning can result in positive changes in the brain even after we become adults. The big idea to take away is that the questions we ask others and ourselves can have the ability to enhance competency in social and emotional learning.
Please feel free to make any comments about this post here or to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you enjoy a mindful week, and I look forward to sharing more resources and ideas with you soon.