teaching Teachers mindfulness

Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life.

To be mindful is to be truly alive, present and at one with those around you and with what you are doing. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

kids being read a story
kids being read a story ~d nelson

Imagine schoolchildren generating their own energy and power of awareness and attention in classrooms, daily. Establishing mindful habits which will protect them throughout their lives. I’m encouraged knowing that this happens, increasingly in schools, in part thanks to efforts of the Mindfulness in Education Network (MIEN), of which I am a member. This network was established in 2001 by a group of educators, students of Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master and peace activist nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Collectively we saw mindfulness as an antidote to the growing stress, conflict and confusion in educational settings as well as an invaluable gift to give students. The purpose of our network is to facilitate communication among all educators, parents, students and any others interested in promoting contemplative practice (mindfulness) in educational settings.

Members are invited to share ways in which they use mindfulness practice with students and teachers and how the practice enhances their role in educational settings. We are also encouraged to raise areas of concern, towards which others might be able to suggest mindful approaches.

Our Experience Tells us That:

• Mindfulness fosters concentration, understanding, learning, peace, happiness and well-being.

• To effectively teach mindfulness requires a solid mindfulness practice.

• Working collaboratively is essential to accomplishing our mission of supporting and cultivating the practice of mindfulness in educational settings. Educators collaborate with colleagues electronically, as well as in person, at work or conferences. For an example of the inspiring academics, researchers and administrators who present at the annual conference, please review this brief clip I just produced:

This years conference will be in Washington, DC in March (details on MIEN site)

Teachers, educators, parents, and especially you, are welcome to learn more about Mindfulness and the Mindfulness in Education Network by exploring their website http://www.mindfuled.org/. Members share ways in which they use mindfulness practice with students and teachers and how the practice enhances their role in educational settings. We are also encouraged to raise areas of concern towards which others might be able to suggest mindful approaches. You may join the group by sending a blank message to: MiEN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Children growing up with mindful skills, peaceful and empathetic towards themselves, others and the world, offers me hope of a brighter future.

happy, mindful playing
happy, mindful playing

28 Replies to “teaching Teachers mindfulness”

  1. Fascinating approach to education. It reminds me of a tenet of the Ojibwe Midewewin Code (the path of life), “Be moderate in all things; watch, listen and consider; your deeds will be prudent.” (as cited in Basil Johnston, (1976), Ojibwe Heritage, p. 93 )

    1. ancient method of benefiting from awareness
      of what is going on, inside and outside
      of ourselves.
      proven to calm the situation
      thus create a more pleasant
      learning environment 🙂

  2. So many thoughts and ideas are going through my mind right now, after having read your words and viewed this video, one of which is simply “thank you”. Yes, I will quiet my mind, and perhaps even sleep on it, allowing these thoughts and ideas to work their wonders.

  3. Sincere appreciation for sharing… As a program and curriculum specialist for early education, there is very little emphasis on mindfulness and heavy concentration on teaching ‘subject’ matter. When mentoring and teaching teachers, I begin each session on the awareness of ‘self’ and how this in itself cultivates a meaningful learning experience for themselves, our children, families…our world. I’ll be joining you during this conference; for this is truly my greatest compassion as an educator. Much peace and light to your heart ~*

    1. thank you for your kind words, my poetic friend. wonderful hearing of awareness exercises you now compassionately offer. connecting at mien offers support to your aspiration of bringing mindfulness to bloom in your school; educators to meet, effective curriculum to browse, like-minded teachers. research shows mindful kids doing other subjects more skillfully. i’ll be again filming the speakers and look forward to meeting you. I posted about last year’s conference on “the heart of education” & “blooming of our buds”. if there are questions or other things to share please send a message on the “contact me” page. wishing you a happy moment 🙂

  4. In a very real way it seems ironic to me that we would go about teaching children to be what they already inherently are – mindful, for is that not the nature of childhood? But maybe what happens is more like helping them hang-on to this gift of being fully present. Or maybe it’s about the teachers being mindful – that would be a good thing for all concerned. There is this funny little British kid’s show my granddaughters watch now and then called the Waybaloos with these odd creatures with big heads who do yoga and meditate and float up in the air while saying – ohmmmmm. I often tell granddaughter Emma, when she gets going a million directions at once – breathe, act like a Waybaloo – ohmmmm. She laughs and calms down – maybe it’s just the laughing. I will definitely follow your link and learn more about mindfulness in education.

    1. ironic, yes, Francis. As your granddaughter displays, it’s rather natural with a little encouragement. Yet, I’ve been in a thousand classrooms and they are often occupied by students and teachers with a whole lot of suffering inside. Mindfulness is a healer. There are many curriculum now available from preschool through college, and for home schoolers, also. Thanks for your descriptive sharing 🙂

      1. Thanks for this great post! I plan to read up on some of these curriculum tips – I love to have a great resource for those moments when help is needed. Mindfulness is, as you say a healer and no better place than schools to spread
        such balm.

    1. thank you for your observation and insight! we can hope that if children are exposed to mindfulness in supportive, group settings they will carry that skill into all areas of their lives, including the electronic devices 🙂

  5. I have been blogging regularly since beginning on wordpress about meditation, inner peace and mindfulness. The posts are fairly popular to my followers — surprising to me though, even though I post only about the most demonstrably useful techniques, practices, and information, only a couple of dozen people tend to click LIKE and very few make a comment. I’m beginning to wonder if its that people know they need it but want to put it off as long as possible. What do you think?
    ~ Eric

    1. it’s wonderful that you’ve kept the creative juices flowing
      and compassionately offered inspiration in the blogosphere so long, Eric!
      people have various needs that the blogs provide, such as teaching, learning, letting go, gathering, insight, entertainment…i believe it’s also a thriving community where we try to connect, in our own ways. i’m grateful some like or make comments as i get feedback that others have some interest. perhaps without likes or comments i might bow out of sharing my mindful life adventures. i spent much of my life giving presentations in-person and having feedback, even non verbal, completes the communication. i suppose frequency of posts, as well as content are factors. posts with pretty pictures with an inspiring quote often seem to be popular. i encourage you to stay true to your aspiration and share from the heart. it’s going to your followers, as well as the rest of the universe. watering positive seeds that will bloom in their time 🙂

  6. What a simpl(e)y amazing approach to education. As a former educator and someone who struggles with mindfulness, yet appreciates its benefits, I can see how much value this would bring more personally and educationally to students. Wonderful post. Wonderful concept.

    1. thank you for your kind words, Jennifer! i have witnessed the miracle of mindfulness cultivated in children. developing these skills of kind awareness early results in the habit becoming second nature. may you find ease and joy with less struggle, with each mindful breath 🙂

  7. I was so happy to find your post. I am an educator stationed in Vienna, Austria working as an English teacher in a semi-bilingual school. After attending the family retreat in 2013 at Plum Village, I knew I had to try a trial run of mindfulness under the umbrella of bilingual learning. To see a class of 25 children, silent and in full meditation (we’ve been practicing the Pebble Mediation based on the book Planting Seeds) has been incredible. The children began to guide the meditation by themselves just this week! I am so hungry for more, but I don’t have any training to delve further then this book. Are there any English training seminars for this in Europe? Thank you so much for your post! It is amazing to know how mindfulness is transforming education, children and teachers!

    1. thank you for the kind words. so happy to know of your retreat experience blooming beautifully in the classrooms. you may find useful resources at the mien site. i’ve been to the EIAB in Germany where they teach classes for teachers and others. they may well have a class and/or resources.

      on my video page can be found the pebble meditation, “hundreds of smiles” from recent retreat at deer park, and “plum village hamlets celebrate 30 year…” from my last trip there in 2012. i’m happy to offer other advice if needed. wishing you and your students happy moments growing together. 🙂

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