on Education

Wednesday, February 29 2012

For those of us who teach mindfulness in educational settings, building an evidence base for our work is critical. Mindfulness programs in educational settings are growing in popularity, but if this trend is to continue, and not become a passing fad, it needs research.

I am often approached by people who have developed a mindfulness-based or contemplative program and want me to help them prove its efficacy. These conversations both hearten and dismay me. I’m heartened by the inspiration to help children and the ambition to build an evidence-based program. And I’m also discouraged by the lack of wherewithal to do the necessary research, both in terms of financial resources and the knowledge needed for the developer/researcher partnership to work.

I’m in a position to understand and empathize with the dilemma because I’ve seen it from both sides.

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posted by Tish Jennings, 10:55 am
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Thursday, November 10 2011

As teachers and parents we often find ourselves rushing about with our minds focused on getting things done: getting the kids dressed and out the door, getting through that important math lesson so our students will do well on the standardized test, etc. This goal orientation keeps our attention focused on the future rather than the present.

As a result, when a child needs our attention, we often perceive this need as an interruption. “Not now, honey. I need to finish this first” “I can’t get through this lesson when people are talking.” Depending upon the level of pressure, we may feel frustrated, even angry. We may loose our cool, especially if we feel our job is on the line. However, we rarely consider how our reaction is experienced from the child’s perspective.

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posted by Tish Jennings, 12:00 am
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Thursday, October 13 2011

Two weeks ago, I participated in an inspiring meeting in New York City: Creating a Mindful Society. There was palpable energy and excitement in the air; a packed crowd of people working to make their own personal lives more mindful, but also working to bring a mindful approach to their work and relationships. It was the articulation of a vision of society’s potential given what we know about the power of simply bring heartfelt, non-judgmental, present-moment awareness into what we do in this world. As a representative of the pre-K-12 educational system, I would like to continue this conversation with readers through this blog.

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posted by Tish Jennings, 11:00 pm
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Tuesday, October 4 2011

Social and emotional learning (SEL) involves the development of the fundamental skills required to understand and manage oneself, and one’s relationships. Supported by research and theory in a variety of fields including education, positive and developmental psychology, cognitive behavioral theory, systems theory, and neuroscience, the SEL framework can be viewed as a comprehensive element of school improvement (see CASEL for more information).

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posted by Tish Jennings, 8:38 am
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Monday, August 15 2011

As a novice teacher, one of my greatest challenges was dealing with the constant and incessant demands of my kindergarten students. Like a Greek chorus, the children called out: “Ms. Jennings, I can’t find my pencil.” “Suzie took my eraser!” “Teacher, I don’t understand this stuff. I need help.”

This cacophony was so irritating because I had no skills to deal with the problem or with my frustration. Bothered by the unending demands, I would lose patience. Knowing it wasn’t appropriate to snap at my tender young students, I suppressed my feelings and quietly fumed.

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posted by Tish Jennings, 11:15 am
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