Antioch University New England is exploring how to incorporate opportunities for our graduate students in education to learn about and have a chance to practice mindfulness meditation.
There has been a lot of attention focused recently on the idea that mindfulness meditation can be an effective tool for social and emotional learning at the K-12 level. In addition, advances in neuroscience research are teaching us that the human brain continues to grow and develop throughout the human life span, adding and shedding neural connections all the time as we have new experiences, or leave old patterns of thinking and behavior behind. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to increase people’s capacity for attention, emotional regulation and even to increase their overall happiness. What a wonderful gift to be able to offer to our children. It’s also a potentially important tool for teachers to use in helping at-risk students who are so often subjected to inappropriate disciplinary actions rather than given tools to help with their own emotional growth and ability to engage in self-regulation.
There is also an emerging consensus that having a mindfulness meditation practice can be of great benefit to teachers as well. One of the most important skills a teacher can bring to the classroom is their ability to be present with their students, to see them clearly with fresh eyes as they grow and develop each day. It also makes good sense that in order for teachers to be able to offer the benefits of mindfulness to their students, they must have some direct experience of the practice for themselves. Organizations like The Center for Mindful Inquiry and Jon Kabot-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program for teachers are offering all sorts of interesting opportunities for teachers to work on their own mindfulness practices as well as applying them to our classroom.
On our Mindfulness in Education blog, AUNE students, faculty, alumni and friends are actively sharing ideas and experiences related to mindfulness meditation for teachers and students. We also have an active Facebook group that is exploring similar themes.
Finally, we are exploring ways to incorporate mindfulness practices more formally into our graduate study programs, both through imbedding mindfulness meditation experiences in our classes and through offering our students additional training and practice in mindfulness through elective course offerings or partnering with meditation teachers and organizations in our area.
If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness meditation and education opportunities at Antioch, please contact Susan Dreyer Leon at firstname.lastname@example.org.