Welcome back! As promised (for real this time…), here’s a review of Week 5 of Mindful School’s Mindful Fundamentals course. I took this course around the new year and found it worth every penny. My cohort’s guiding teacher, Kevin Griffin, was helpful and made everyone feel comfortable sharing their experiences throughout the course.
To check out the previous reviews, follow these links:
Mindfulness Fundamentals @ Mindful Schools – Introduction
Mindfulness Fundamentals @ Mindful Schools – Week 1
Mindfulness Fundamentals @ Mindful Schools – Week 2
Mindfulness Fundamentals @ Mindful Schools -- Week 3
Mindfulness Fundamentals @ Mindful Schools -- Week 4
The focus during Week 5 of the course was on interpersonal mindfulness. The biggest focus was on being able to listen mindfully and to be thoughtful and intentional in speech. At the time, I wasn’t super-interested in the week’s topic, but looking back, it really resonated and stuck with me. Though I haven’t been perfect at being a mindful listener and choosing my words well, I’ve done a lot better than I ever have in the past.
One neat experience was during a PD meeting we had during our orientation week prior to classes commencing in March. A psychiatrist came in and spoke to us about communication in the multicultural classroom. As luck would have it, one of the topics that she talked about was listening carefully to others and remembering their words. We did a neat activity in which we listened mindfully to our colleague as they related a story involving powerful emotions from their past. Then, we had to try to repeat the story back to the speaker as accurately as possible.
I was really struck during the activity by how nice it felt to hear my story repeated to me. I’m often reluctant to share my stories for fear that the other person may not be interested. To have someone repeat my words back to me felt cool; like my story had been a bit more interesting and memorable than I’d given it credit for being. I realized that, even though it may not seem like much, making sure that people realize that you’ve listened to them and understood what they’re trying is a very powerful experience. I hope to keep listening and interacting as mindfully as I can for the rest of the year and beyond!
Matthew Boomhower is a mid-career educator with 18 years of classroom teaching and educational leadership experience. He is Head of Innovation & Learning at an international school in Malaysia and is a proud husband and father.