Communication studies professors Marne Austin and Terri Russ are redefining learning through their implementation of mindfulness in their classroom setting.Professor Austin said she defined mindfulness as a commitment to always being present in the current moment.“Mindfulness is a practice of presence and of radical presence with each other,” she said. “It means that we must strive to be present to ourselves in our own lives. This requires purposefully slowing down to be here entirely in each moment.”After noticing the negative effects that many cultural trends have had on learning, Austin said she chose to implement mindfulness in her classes.“So often in our culture and society we pride ourselves on business and like to pretend that we are very good at multitasking,” she said. “Studies are showing more and more is that multitasking can’t actually happen effectively. If we are doing multiple things at once it means it’s only getting a fraction of our attention. It’s no wonder that we are losing our connections with each other and the things that we’re doing if we’re only partly present.”Austin uses two main mindfulness practices in her classes: breathing exercises and compassionate listening. These practices allow students to slow down and open themselves up to endless educational possibilities, she said.“In class we start by pausing,” Austin said. “The idea is that there’s nowhere else we’d rather be, nothing else we need to do, except be here and we can trust that we have this inherent brilliance and that we all matter and have something to offer.”Austin said she has noticed a great change in the classroom as a result of these small enhancements.“Students have more courage and feel safe to ask questions,” she said. “The energy shifted. When we were able to divorce our being from the things we said and the questions we asked, then anything could be said and learned.”Russ said she begins classes with what she calls a “mindfulness moment,” often employing use of freewriting.“Just write for the next 10 minutes,” she tells students. “Don’t stop writing. If you don’t know what to write, [then] write ‘I don’t know what to write.’”Professors tend to feel crunched for time to teach everything they need to during class time, so the idea of giving up a few minutes for a mindfulness exercise can seem risky, Russ said. However, Russ said she finds this to be a worthwhile use of class time.“It allows not only for more focused discussion, but also deeper discussion,” she said. “So the cost-benefit analysis of that is that I end up gaining some class time by taking away some class time.”Implementing mindfulness into their daily lives helps students focus outside the classroom as well, Russ said, so long as it doesn’t become another item on an increasingly long to-do list. She said she has even given a keynote address titled “I’m Too Busy to Be Mindful.”“We’re very task-oriented as a society,” she said. “We like our checklists. We like to know exactly what we’re going to do [and] how to get things done. Mindfulness, then, becomes another task. By making it another task, we think ‘I’m too busy to be mindful.’”Mindfulness is said to improve focus and productivity, but Austin and Russ agree that it goes beyond this.Mindfulness‘ positive effects go beyond simply improving one’s focus and productivity, Austin said.“When you start practicing mindfulness, you do it personally because it’s this self-care, but it’s through this that you transform the world around you,” Austin said.Tags: classroom practices, meditation, mindfulness, teaching methods
NYK and Nippon Yuka Kogyo, an NYK Group company, have collaborated with Horiba on developing a new sulfur-in-oil analyzer for ships.By using the new analyzer, NYK will be able to comply with regulations limiting sulfur oxides (SOx) from vessels, as well as optimize the company’s use of low-sulfur fuel oil, the company said.As explained, the new device is based on an existing device used at onshore analysis centers. It can analyze a wide range of fuel, from C heavy oil to light oil.Maintaining the accuracy and reliability of onshore analysis centers, the compact new analyzer uses disposable sample cells to keep clean, even in the engine room, and allows onboard engineers to confirm that the sulfur concentration in fuel is surely under 0.1 percent before entering an emission control area (ECA). This allows engineers to grasp the actual sulfur percent, which could only be estimated on board before, according to NYK.Certain areas around Europe and North America have been designated as ECAs to prevent air pollution, and ships sailing through those areas are required to use onboard fuel oil having a sulfur content of no more than 0.1 percent.Therefore, onboard engineers must change to low-sulfur fuel before entering ECAs by calculating the time that the sulfur concentration in tanks and pipes will fall to 0.1 percent or less. Engineers have thus desired to be able to perform onboard sulfur-in-oil analyses to determine the best timing to change fuel and adhere to regulations. This new sulfur-in-oil analyzer for ships has been developed to meet this demand, the company added.“The NYK Group will continue to comply with SOx regulations by making use of this sulfur-in-oil analyzer for ships. The group also collects actual time data from various types of vessels, and after analysis determines the optimal timing for changing fuel to best reduce consumption,” NYK further said.