Mindfulness Education Initiative • Fall, 2009, group of individuals established an interest group • Purpose was to explore the implications of increasing awareness and practices regarding mindfulness, meditation, and the mind-body connection among SCSU students, faculty and staff. • Proposed a day-long mindfulness retreat during the 2010 Convocation.
The Mindful Teacher • The most practical thing we can achieve in any kind of work is insight into what is happening inside of us as we do it. The more familiar we are with our own inner terrain, the more surefooted our teaching – and living – becomes. • Parker Palmer
Typography of the Research Base on Mindfulness in education • Cognitive Domain • Mindful learning as state induced • Mindfulness as a dispositional trait • Mindful Abstractions to enhance transfer • Social & Emotional Domain • Teacher/student interactions • Student-directed programs to enhance Social and Emotional Learning • Attentional Processes & Executive Functions Domain • Special education – ADHD • Attention processing • Stress Reduction and Health Domain
Mindfulness as state • Based primarily on research by Ellen Langer, et al. • Draws a distinction between “Mindless Learning” and “Mindful Learning”
Mindless learning • Development of premature cognitive commitments to facts without comprehending context: “… a rigid belief that results from the mindless acceptance of information as true” • Arises from: • Information that appears irrelevant, and is given in • Absolute vs. conditional language by an • Authority. Ex: The three main reasons for the civil war were…
Mindful learning • Mindful learning is a state of mind which results from: • Drawing novel distinctions • Examining information from new perspectives • And is sensitive to context • Ex.: From the perspective of the white male living in the “northern” states at the beginning of the Civil War, the main reasons for the war were…
“When we teach our students to hold everything constant, we teach them to learn IF something is true rather than WHEN something is true.”
Mindlessness as a social issue(Langer) • “mindlessness can show up as the direct cause of human error in complex situations, of prejudice and stereotyping, and of the sensation of alternating between anxiety and boredom that characterizes many lives. Boredom and malaise, particularly, can be thought of as conditions brought on by mindlessness. Without noticing differences in the passage of time within ourselves and the outside world, each day looks like every other day. Students feel stuck and listless in class. Teachers often absent-mindedly slog through long-winded lectures and sermons.”
Perkins: Mindfulness as Traits and High-Road Transfer • As a dispositional trait: • Sensitivity (openness to looking closely and extracting new information) • Inclination (motivation to explore driven by interest and ambiguity) • Ability (skills to mindfully abstract information which can be used in future situations/contexts – high-road transfer) • Established in a “hot cognitive economy” classroom • “”…where the costs of high-level thinking, risk taking and mindfulness are low.”
Mindful Abstractions • “…mindful abstraction is the deliberate identification of a principle, main idea, strategy or procedure that is not tied to one specific problem or situation, but could apply to many.” • Ex; Learner Profile Plan (CEEP 361) • Goal: Principles to Practice • Daily Mindful Abstraction Log
Teacher/Student Interactions • Teachers engaged in mindful practices enhanced: • Collaborative teacher/student engagements around problem solving • Increased awareness of students’ misunderstandings • Ex: Teaching standard deviation • SUM • SOME • Students’ abilities to deal with anxiety and conflict • Classroom practices which engaged the students’ mindfulness awareness and skills.