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Cliff's Corner - 10/19/2017

posted Oct 23, 2017, 3:04 PM by Admin at Winterhaven

Counselor Corner Hey folks,

For the K-6 classrooms this may be their favorite week with me.  We are starting Mindfulness and looking at our ability to control ourselves and quiet our “monkey minds”.  This week, we are replicating an experiment done at Stanford University in the 60’s, affectionately dubbed “The Marshmallow Test”.  Each student gets a marshmallow (or three skittles if that is more tempting to them) with the explanation that they can have another in 20 minutes if they don’t eat the first one at all.  It is a chance for kids to demonstrate their ability to delay gratification and use self-control.  We tie mindfulness in (since almost all of them have had it last year and the year before) as a way to be in the moment, recognize your desires and link them to your larger desires and goals. We also get to talk about the effects of peer pressure since that is largely brought up as an influencing factor in people’s choices here at Winterhaven during this “test”.   A couple videos for this week:

A TED talk about the experiment:

An amusing video of the experiment in progress:

We go into more formal mindfulness training next week.  Again, mindfulness is a non-religious form of meditation that has been showing some pretty strong benefits in recent studies.  In particular, schools that are training students about mindfulness are reporting a pretty significant reduction in bullying behaviors and reduced anxiety among the students.  

A parent shared a great critique of the Marshmallow Test from an equity perspective.  Here’s the link, and it is well worth the time spent to watch the video and chat about it.  I haven’t shown this to students, so this would be a good springboard to talk about the weekly question:

How do your family’s life circumstances affect your ability to be the best humans you can be?  How do the experiences of others affect theirs?  This can easily fall into generalizations, careful.  Tear those apart together, if you can, and look to replace any judgements with compassion.  

Thanks again!  Cliff Shaw,