6 Must-Have Skills to Look for in a Mindfulness Teacher

You want to find more than simple compatibility in a mindfulness teacher. Consider these skills and abilities when choosing an instructor.

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These Mindfulness-Based Intervention Teaching Assessment Criteria were created in 2008 by researchers from three universities in the UK. You can consider these skills and abilities when choosing a teacher.

1. Thoughtfully Organizes Curriculum

How well is the teacher prepared and how well do they cover the curriculum content of the session? Can they balance the needs of the individual, the group, and the requirements of teaching the course?

2. Connects Authentically

Consider the interpersonal connection between individual participants and teacher. Characteristics of a good teacher include empathy, authenticity, compassion, warmth, curiosity, and respect, among others.

3. Naturally Embodies Mindfulness

To embody a practice of mindfulness is to bring the core attitudes of mindfulness practice—non-judging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance, and letting go—to the practice of teaching mindfulness.

4. Clearly Guides Practices

How well does the teacher describe what participants are being invited to do in the practice, including all the elements required in that practice? The teacher should guide students in recognizing when their minds have wandered and bringing their attention back, for example. The teacher’s language should be clear, precise, accurate, and accessible while conveying spaciousness.

5. Creatively Supports Inquiry and Curiosity

Does the teacher convey the themes of the course interactively to participants, using a range of teaching approaches that make the themes come alive?

6. Competently Navigates Group Dynamics

A competent teacher creates a learning environment that “holds” the group and within which the learning takes place. The teacher should be able to “tune in to,” connect with, and respond appropriately to shifts and changes in group mood and characteristics.

Adapted from “Summary Version of the Mindfulness-based Interventions Teaching Assessment Criteria (MBI:TAC)”, Crane et al, 2016.

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Mindful Staff

Mindful Staff editors work on behalf of Mindful magazine, Mindful.org, and the Foundation for a Mindful Society to write, edit and curate the best insights, information, and inspiration to help us all live more mindfully.