PHASE ONE

Week Four: Being Mindful of Mindfulness

Pitch Transcript located here.

Week Three: A Curriculum of Kindness

My selected opinion piece is one written by Laura Pinger and Dr. Lisa Flook, entitled What if Schools Taught Kindness?. This six-page article details anecdotes from a study conducted by the authors where a mindfulness and empathy-based curriculum was taught to American preschool classes. Students who were part of the “kindfulness curriculum” were reported to get better grades, be more likely to share their things and calm themselves down more effectively when compared to students who had not participated in the curriculum (Pinger & Flook, 2016). On these grounds, the article advocated for including mindfulness and empathy-based curricula in schools. Though the title asks an open-ended question, Pinger and Flook make their stance clear. Throughout the article, no counterargument is presented, and their only external sources were their own colleagues at the Center for Healthy Minds (CHM), an organization that advocates for mindfulness education.

Even so, their stance isn’t completely unfounded. Many scholars have reported that a large amount of youth experience issues with regards to their mental health (Macklem, 2014; Greenberg & Harris, 2011). The school environment is so often one of chaos, one where it is nearly impossible, let alone encouraged, to take a moment to simply relax (Clark/Keefe & Haines, 2019). This chaos can distress mentally ill students and, without intervention, cause them to externalize their disorder. Gayle Macklem defines externalizing disorders as acting rashly due to a distressing emotion or thought process. This can manifest in many ways, including bullying, violence, self-harming behaviour or even suicide. By introducing preventive measures, like introducing a mindfulness curriculum in schools, we can potentially save lives. Isn’t that, in the end, why we search for information in the first place?

Clark/Keefe, K., & Haines, S. (2019). Attuning to Crisscross Applesauce as Affective Flow and Material Agency in a Public K-5 Classroom: Studying School-Based Mindfulness Under Sociomaterial Circumstances. Qualitative Inquiry, 25(2), 140-153. doi:10.1177/1077800418784331

Greenberg, M. T., & Harris, A. R. (2011). Nurturing Mindfulness in Children and Youth: Current State of Research. Child Development Perspectives, 0(0), 1-6. doi:10.1111/j.1750-8606.2011.00215.x

Macklem, G. L. (2014). Preventive Mental Health at School. Springer New York.

Pinger, L., & Flook, L. (2016, February 1). What if Schools Taught Kindness? Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_if_schools_taught_kindness

Week Two: Alternative Facts

I recently had a run-in with a quite unpleasant character who engaged me in a debate over a matter that is very dear to my heart. I remarked repeatedly that nothing he could say would change my stance, as the issue is deeply entrenched in my sense of identity, and he responded with a statement that was quite peculiar. He told me, “We have to debate these things so that these people will reconsider what they believe.” And yet, in my eyes, every single one of his arguments were flawed, incorrect, poorly worded and utterly unnecessary. Not once did I ever waver from my stance or question my belief.

Perhaps I was in the wrong. Perhaps he was. Or, most likely, we were both spewing out desperate half-truths in order to cling onto our fragile worldview. Dr. Michael LaBossiere, a philosophy professor, wrote an article that thoroughly debunks the notion that all information is simply a matter of opinion using rigorous logic. He states that many people hold a misconception that all opinions are equally valid and equally true. The allure of this misconception is tangible, especially in a society where we emphasize respect, equity and acceptance. It would seem that in a perfect world, every opinion would be respected equally. I believe this thought process stems from a misunderstanding over the definition of an opinion. Many people automatically assume opinions are rooted solely in emotional reasoning and cannot be taken as true or even probable. But in actuality, what we define as opinions are actually matters of opinion, defined in lecture as something that cannot be proven as true or false. On the other hand, opinions can be justified and rooted in evidence, and these opinions must be taken as more valid as matters of opinion or opinions based on incorrect or misleading information.

LaBossiere, M. (2007, August 26). Is philosophy just a matter of opinion? Retrieved from https://aphilosopher.drmcl.com/2007/08/26/is-philosophy-just-a-matter-of-opinion/

Week One: Feeling Pumped!

Hello, everyone! 😜 I promise that is the first and last emoji I will use on this blog (unless, of course, I’m allowed to put them in these posts). Anyway! The name’s Pan! This is my third year at York University and my first year on the Keele campus. Oui, je me suis inscrit au collège Glendon pour le français et les mathématiques avant de s’inscrire ici. (I’m not actually sure if my grammar is correct in this sentence. It’s… been a while since I’ve spoken French.) I’m in Math right now, but I’m planning on applying to the Social Work program here at York. I love writing and I’m very passionate about people—how they talk, how they think and how their inner world comes out in the way they behave and react to external stimuli.

Honestly, I’m pretty pumped for this assignment. As a Math major, I never really got to talk about things I was interested in. I also never ran into research papers in post-secondary. That being said, I only know one tactic for research. It was taught to me by my mother back when I was just a little kid. She told me to go to the library, find a number of books that look promising and then flip to the index and look for key words. The same logic applies to online journals—control-F, keyword changed my life.

This is definitely helpful in the sense that you can find what you need really quickly, as there tends not to be too much in any one book or journal that actually corresponds to what you’re looking for. Unfortunately, using it leaves you reading excerpts out of context. The author writes a book or journal with the intent of providing a cohesive thesis, after all. Picking and choosing certain pages without truly understanding the content can potentially be very dangerous and hurt your own credibility.

I’m looking forward to continuing on in this course and exploring more on how to research effectively!


Pan Goordat