I hope this finds you all well. I thought I would just share some thoughts on a recent conference in Germany.
It was my great pleasure to be invited by Prof. Karla Jensen to speak at the Mindfulness in Education conference at University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt last week. The event was organised by Prof. Heiner Boettger and his friendly and efficient team. When Karla got in touch, she asked me if during my talk I would put mindfulness in context by introducing contemplative pedagogy, discussing its relation to mindfulness as well as talking about what I have been experimenting with in my own teaching. Below is a video of my powerpoint presentation which has the presentation audio too (For some mysterious reason the title slide displayed is not the presentation that follows so just press play – it becomes clear!) I have also included a PDF file of my slides in case you cannot access the video.
I was very impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm of those who attended, many of whom were training to be teachers. There was a lot of interesting debate and discussion throughout the day. Karlheinz Valtl from the University of Vienna gave an excellent presentation which looked at different models of mindfulness and highlighted some very important resources for those interested in bringing mindfulness into the classroom – the most relevant of which I will add to the resource page of this blog. There was one book that particularly stood out:
I have not yet got my copy, but a significant proportion of the book is dedicated to describing mindfulness exercises for use in education, including HE so I am looking forward to getting it. If you already have this text have you found it useful?
Karlheinz’s presentation and the others will be included in a conference proceedings document which will be made available in due course – I will provide a link on this blog once that happens.
It was great to share ideas with new people and to hear about the challenges at all levels of education, not just HE. One learning point that stands out for me was during a group discussion we were talking about what happens if students in a class don’t want to participate, if they resist what we are trying to do. I explained that I always remind students that participation is optional and I have certainly seen students choose to ‘sit out’ during class mindfulness exercises. Then another group member remarked ‘if you are not making them do anything, there is nothing for them to resist!’ I loved this way of putting it!!
Warm wishes Caroline