Shifting Viewpoints in the Classroom | Part 1

This is Part 1 of a 4-part series about teaching children to understand and manage their attention.

PART 1  |  PART 2 |  PART 3  |  PART 4

Imagine you are a teacher in a classroom of children ready to begin their day.

Their attention is going in every direction except to the task at hand. You have the tools and training of The Principles of Allowing. Using these, you instruct the children to contemplate attention.

You begin by asking them to describe what attention is and how it feels when they focus it. The children answer with a variety of viewpoints:

  • "It's that feeling when I sit up straight and stare at you."
  • "It's when I don't get distracted by other ideas."
  • "It's when I decide to look and listen."
  • "It's focus."
  • "My attention works best when others are quiet."

You ask a very important question,  "Where does your attention come from?"

The fourth-graders consider for a moment and respond, "From me." "From my mind." "My heart." "My head." In unison they all agree... "It comes from me."You tease them by reporting that there is something in the classroom that they have never seen before. You say you would like them to describe it, tell you all about it, and include how they feel about it.

They look at you in disbelief. One child protests, "What? We can't tell you about something we've never seen!" You clarify, "You mean it isn't it real for you if you haven't seen it or put any attention on it?"

They question, "How could it be?  How can we describe it when we don't even know what you are talking about?"

You deepen the inquiry. 

You ask "So you are saying you have no relationship with this thing I am talking about because you've never seen it or had one drop of attention on it?" They agree with a thoughtful nod.

You nudge them by asking "Want me to show you?" This is when you ask them if they would like to see how they can make something real that doesn't exist for them yet.

How do they respond? Find out next week in Part 2.

Magic is in reach,

Posted by Holly Riley.