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Positive Psychology in the Classroom

Mindful People - Intermediate Low

Lesson Information

Positive Psychology Learning Outcomes

Students will...

  1. recognize attributes belonging to mindful people.
  2. Identify how to approach a problematic situation mindfully.

Language Learning Outcomes

Students will...

  1. use high frequency general vocabulary.
  2. connect content to background knowledge.
  3. describe in all major time frames about familiar and general topics.
  4. actively participate in conversations through proper responses.

Materials Needed

Overview

Review this definition or another definition of mindfulness: "maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens." Tell students that today they will learn how to be more mindful by learning about mindful people. 

Definition retrieved from: https://edtechbooks.org/-DAw 

Activate Background Knowledge

Have students watch this video about a Yogi (someone who practices yoga) who learns that part of becoming a mindful person is being patient and flexible.

Headspace | Meditation | The Impatient Yogi

https://youtu.be/TgfycCiZl8s 

Invite students to discuss:

  • What does being a mindful person mean?
  • What attributes does a mindful person have?

After discussing these questions, ask students to share their ideas on the following question:

  • How does being patient with yourself and others allow you to be mindful?

Activity 1: Listening/Speaking

Split people into three groups. Assign one group to the Dalai Lama, one group to Mahatma Gandhi, and one to Mother Teresa. Explain that these three people have a reputation for living mindfully. Give students time to research their assigned person using the internet, and take notes. Mention the following bulleted information about each person if students don’t come up with it on their own. Have groups share with each other what they have learned.

Dalai Lama

  • Spiritual leader of tibet
  • Monk
  • Even though he’s super important, calls himself “a simple Buddhist monk”

Gandhi 

  • Indian lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer 
  • became the leader of the nationalist movement against the British rule of India
  • nonviolent philosophy of passive resistance
  • known to his many followers as Mahatma, or “the great-souled one.”

Mother Teresa

  • a Roman Catholic nun
  • devoted her life to serving the poor and destitute around the world
  • founded the Missionaries of Charity
  • received the Nobel Peace Prize
  • became a saint after her death

After having the groups share with each other, you can invite students to think about how they could be more like these mindful people they just learnt about. 

Activity 2: Speaking/Vocabulary

Introduce the 7 things that mindful people do differently, and highlight that the people the students researched before are “mindful people.” Have the students discuss what connections they see between the people they researched and the 7 things mindful people do differently.

Retrieved from: https://edtechbooks.org/-DGUI 

Introduce the following vocabulary words:

  1. Happy – someone who is feeling or is generally feeling good and content
  2. Forgiving – a person who easily stops feeling angry at someone for something they did
  3. Grateful – someone who is thankful
  4. Resilient – someone who accepts challenges and learns from them.

Ask the students to choose one word with which they feel identified. Then have the students discuss with their partners the following questions:

  • Why did I choose that attribute?
  • In what ways do I do any of these seven things when I am learning a new language?
  • Which one of the seven traits is the one you struggle most with?

Once students have identified which trait they struggle with, invite them to think of ways they improve in that trait.

Activity 3: Listening and Speaking

Have the students think of a frustrating situation where they do not understand what their native roommate/friend/colleague is saying and ask them to try solving the situation by focusing on one of the seven traits and/or one of the six attributes. The students will have to tell what they would do or say in that situation to a partner next to them.

Finally, talk as a class about what are some ways to solve problems and overcome simple and daily life challenges. Highlight the importance of being aware of how they feel and how others might feel.

Activity 4: Writing

Have students choose a habit they have that is mindless (eating too much, biting your nails, getting angry quickly, etc.) and resolve to make it mindful. Have them make a plan to help by starting with a mind map or bullet points, then write down specific dates to accomplish some of the activities/goals and share them with a partner.  For example, if the habit the student chooses is to become mindful of how often you look at Instagram, try moving the location of the app and write when you are going to do that. This will give them a few extra moments to think about whether or they want to look at social media, or whether they were looking only out of habit.

Homework

Tell the students that their homework for this week is to focus on working on the habit they chose in the previous activity. Remind them that the focus is to make a mindless habit mindful. Remind them to be kind and self-compassionate during the process of changing or quitting a mindless habit. 

Follow-Up

Tuesday:

“Be happy in the moment, that's enough, each moment is all we need, not more.”
- Mother Teresa
Have the students take a minute to think about something that they are happy about right now. It can be something large, or it can be something that they usually would not notice. It can be something that already happened or that they’re looking forward to. The students will then share the good thing with a partner.

Invite students to share their thoughts and highlight any comment made by the students on positive emotion, gratitude, or how to stay focused on the present moment and avoid distractions. 

Wednesday:

“There can be no knowledge without humility and the will to learn.”
- Mahatma Gandhi

Have the students discuss what this quote means. You can even introduce the meaning of the word will in this context. (Most students will probably recognize the word ‘will’ to express future but they may not know that it can also mean determination to achieve something). How can they apply it in their lives? How can they be mindful and stay focused on their will to learn and avoid distractions? 

Thursday:

Follow up about the mindless habit. 

  • What habit did you decide to change? 
  • Have you seen a difference?

Remind them that change takes time and that sometimes noticing when you do something is the first step to changing it, so even if they haven’t seen a huge change encourage them to stick to it. Remind them to be kind and self-compassionate during the process of changing or quitting a mindless habit. 

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