Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness - Foreword

A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything

Foreword

Mindfulness and education are beautifully interwoven. Mindfulness is about being present with and to your inner experience as well as your outer environment, including other people. When teachers are fully present, they teach better. When students are fully present, the quality of their learning is better. It’s a “win-win” equation that can transform teaching, learning, and the educational landscape.

Mindfulness helps teachers in multiple ways by supporting emotion management, reducing stress, and focusing the mind. These skills are essential for career success and satisfaction. With nearly 40% of teachers leaving the profession after five years, we know that the familiar approaches aren’t adequate when things get tough in the classroom.

Focused awareness, as cultivated through mindfulness, also helps students by improving attention, promoting academic achievement, reducing problem behaviors and increasing enthusiasm for learning. But the greater educational potential of mindfulness goes beyond raising test scores. Mindfulness has much to offer as educators address other intractable problems of education through facilitating the flexible transfer of skills and knowledge to new contexts, developing deep understanding of student motivation and engagement, strengthening critical and creative thinking, and fostering more self-directed learners.

Tapping into the potential of mindfulness begins when teachers and students learn to pay attention to the experience of paying attention. Since teaching stems from personal experience and understanding, educators’ familiarity with mindfulness must precede implementation of student-centered methodologies.

The point is that we have to go first—and this book, written by a longtime educator who “gets it,” shows how.

Stephen Viola, Ph.D.
Director, Transition to Teaching Program
University of Missouri–St. Louis

 

How to cite this document:
© Deborah Schoeberlein, Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness (Wisdom Publications, 2009)

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