Hearts of children
Virtually everyone agrees that children would benefit from mindfulness training – learning how to be calm, attentive and aware of their thoughts and feelings. But virtually nobody knows how to squeeze mindfulness training into already jam-packed school curricula.
That was at the center of a challenge posed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who in 2004 told a crowd in Vancouver, Canada that the time had come to “educate the hearts and not just the minds of children.” A year later, followers launched the Dalai Lama Center for Peace + Education, which has been trying ever since to integrate mindfulness and public education.
We took up the challenge through our initiative UX for Good, which GreenHouse developed with Jason Ulaszek to enlist top user experience designers from around the world in solving social challenges. Interestingly, the answer we found was unrelated to school curricula and related instead to classroom management. Teachers had independently discovered that they could use mindfulness techniques to more effectively manage disruption and disciplinary issues, leading to quieter, happier classrooms. They were more than happy to share these insights with their colleagues.
This insight led to the Center’s development of Heart-Mind Online, a resource launched to facilitate the sharing of mindfulness resources among teachers and parents.
We have also deployed UX for Good to tackle challenges facing genocide memorials and the livelihood of professional musicians in New Orleans, for which the initiative won the user experience design industry’s top award.