Mindful teaching is maintaining present moment awareness of thought, emotion, sensation and environment with openness and curiosity. A mindful classroom begins with the teacher/trainer. A teacher/trainer who is present emotionally in their thoughts with the class. They know the class. They are aware of their confidence level of both teaching and content knowledge. They focus in the present moment on the learner.
Mindful professional practice is both planned and reflective. A reflective practice has implications for teachers and trainers. Continuous reflective practice can be a vigorous vehicle that aids self-analysis in both what they do “in light of professional standards .. and student progress” (OECD, 2005:11). To be reflective a practitioner must be mindful.
Mindfulness is revolutionary really – no, not really. Mindfulness is a skill that has been around since the dawning of time (well maybe only humans walked the earth). Mindful teaching and training is invaluable in any classroom. Mindful teaching and training enhances professional attributes, skills and knowledge that can govern trainer and teacher effectiveness. This impacts student learning. Characteristics like the ability to meaningfully convey ideas clearly and convincingly, creativity and enthusiasm, building a positive learning environment inclusive of all learners, fostering positive relationships with the learner and the learners support team (family, friends, significant others) are difficult to define and measure but are vital ingredients for learning (Zwozdiak-Myers, P.2012). Thus, when a teaching is authentically reflective, mindful teaching or training skills impact learning.
There is a global trend in mindful teaching and training.
Google “mindful teaching”. Universities across the world are delivering mindful training – for all professional groups. The University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), Harvard University in Cambridge, University of Massachusetts, Boston in the United States, and The University of Sydney, Australia.
Monash University in Melbourne describes the benefits of mindfulness to include
Nicholas Wyman, in his book ‘Job U, How to find wealth and success by developing the skills companies actually need’, says that “the nation must not only develop … mineral and energy resources, it must also develop its most valuable resource of all: its human capital. “(p22). What a teacher / trainer does, and how they do it impacts learners. We develop the human capital. What a learning organisation does and how it does it, impacts its human capital – the learners and teachers/trainers.
Teachers and trainers enter the business of learning to make a difference - to improve the world. The profession is a personal expression of values. Mindful teaching or training engages learner and teacher / trainer in more that curriculum. The mindful teacher serves as a model for self-care, values, personal and professional improvement. The mindful teacher or trainer creates healthy habits for themselves, the learner and the learning organisation.
Mindful teaching and training means being present in the here and now. Mindful teaching and training means being present for yourself and learners. A mindful teacher/ trainer is a mindful communicator, a mindful planner, a mindful problem solver, a mindful behaviour manager, a mindful assessor and a productive member of staff. Mindful teaching and training is staying open and curious, being present in awareness of thought, emotion, sensation and environment.
Mindful teaching and training impacts the teacher/trainer, the learner, the community and the nation. That is why so many universities across the world are embracing mindfulness training.