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Mindfulness in Education

by Richard Brady

"Sentient beings are numberless. I vow to awaken them." This is the first of the four great bodhisattva vows. Whether or not we aspire to be bodhisattvas, once we embark on the Buddhist path we realize that we are practicing not only for ourselves, but for the world. As an educator working with young people, I've been particularly aware of the tremendous opportunity I have to help others awaken. For many years I talked with other educators during retreats and in local Sanghas who had the same dilemma I had. We wanted to share mindfulness practice with our students but lacked skillful means for doing so. During the summer of 2001 Thich Nhat Hanh extended a special invitation to educators to attend his two US retreats. During these retreats we had opportunities to meet in educator interest groups and share our thoughts about promoting mindfulness in our educational institutions. We also formed the Mindfulness in Education Network (MiEN).

MiEN's first endeavor was the creation of a listserv, which now includes 325 participants ranging from kindergarten teachers to university professors and adult educators. Participants use the listserv to share their successes, challenges and advice. More recently, the MiEN Website was developed. It contains articles on mindfulness in education, a mindfulness bibliography, instructions on how to join the MiEN listserv, and free software that installs a mindfulness bell in personal computers.

FIND OUT MORE ON THE WEB!

  • Mindfulness in Education Network

  • Center for Contemplative Mind in Society’s education page

  • “Contemplation and Education, A Survey of Programs Using Contemplative Techniques in K-12 Educational Settings: A Mapping Report,” from the Garrison Institute
  • In 2004 the Garrison Institute, through its Program on Contemplation and Education, began exploring ways to promote contemplative pedagogy in K-12 settings. In April, 2005 it held a symposium on Contemplation and Education and in October, 2005 released "Contemplation and Education, A Survey of Programs Using Contemplative Techniques in K-12 Educational Settings: A Mapping Report." This report describes a number of existing contemplative K-12 programs, presents an overview of the April symposium, and has a supplement on relevant scientific research issues. The report is available on the Garrison Institute's web site.

    The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society has been supporting contemplative pedagogy in higher education since the early 1990's. The education section of their web site contains papers related to contemplation in education, syllabi of higher education courses that have a contemplative component and information about their programs for educators, including the Contemplative Practice Fellowship Program cosponsored by the Center and the American Council of Learned Societies and a summer workshop on creating higher education courses which employ contemplation as one form of pedagogy.

    If you are an educator or have an interest in education, I encourage you to visit these Websites and share them with others.

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