Today we’re going to practice mindful listening.
Remember our three steps for mindfulness practices: First, focus your attention on the sound. Then, notice whether your mind wanders away from the sound. If it does, simply bring your attention back to the sound. Are you ready to try it?
Begin by placing your attention on the sounds in the room.
Every time you notice a sound, silently label it by saying to yourself, “air conditioner,” “bell,” “someone moving around,” etc. If you don’t know what it is, simply describe the sound to yourself. Let’s take a minute to just focus on all of the sounds in the room.
(For about a minute, let students listen and notice sounds.)
Next, bring your attention to the sound of your own breath. Can you hear it? What does it sound like? Let’s see if we can focus on our breath for one minute.
If your attention gets distracted by another sound in the room, notice it, and gently bring your attention back to your breath.
(Allow students one minute of silence to listen to their breath.)
Now relax your attention, and take a deep breath in and out.
Silently check in with yourself. Do you feel any differently after that exercise?
You do not need to read the included script verbatim. Adapt the language so that it is appropriate for your students in particular.
If time allows, bookend this experience with group discussions. Before introducing the exercise, discuss the similarities and differences between listening and mindful listening. This will offer them a foundation from which to engage the exercise. Once students have completed the practice, invite them to reflect on their experiences.
During this practice, you may create some sounds to add to the background noise in the room (i.e. lightly ring a bell, tap on the floor, open and close the door, etc.)
Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile
Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project