AVOID QUICK FIX “McMINDFULNESS”, TEACHERS WARNED – 26th January 2016
Richard Burnett, co-founder of Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), which hosted the conference, told delegates that schools needed to commit to long-term good practice to establish a culture of mindfulness.
The foundations for getting it right included inviting a trained practitioner into the school to talk to staff and choosing the right teacher to train them in the technique.
He said that rushing into things could result in a kind of “McMindfulness” or half-baked approach which would be counter productive.
“If it bombs, a school won’t try it again. If you have to wait two years to get the right teacher, then wait two years. This is a 10, 20, 30 years process.”
More than 700 delegates attended the conference on Friday, most of them teachers. They were given a history of the development of mindfulness by one of its leading exponents, Professor Mark Williams, founder of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.
He said that the ‘90s had seen two new worrying trends in mental health: firstly that depression was a recurring phenomenon and secondly that it was starting much earlier, often in childhood.
“This is a billion-person problem,” he said, adding that research at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre suggested that mindfulness could be “at least as effective as anti-depressants”.
Tim Loughton MP, who co-chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mindfulness, told delegates that the rise in childhood depression meant that pupil well-being was becoming an increasing priority.
“In Parliament we think mindfulness has huge potential,” said the former Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, adding that his parliamentary group recommended more government funding for school-based mindfulness initiatives.
The conference also heard from teachers who had successfully introduced mindfulness programmes to their schools, including Manchester primary school head Amy Footman who said: “At the moment if you want to be an outstanding school you have to have well-being at the heart of what you do.”
Notes to Editors
1. The Mindfulness and Education Conference 2016 took place at the Institute of Education, University College London, on Friday 22nd January.
2. Other speakers included political historian Sir Anthony Seldon and Juan Coto, “mental” coach to Britain’s top woman tennis player Johanna Konta.
3. Mindfulness is a scientifically-backed meditative technique which, in a school environment, is designed to help equip young people with greater coping skills. Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) introduced secular mindfulness to British education seven years ago and aims to encourage, support and research mindfulness in education. It also devised the two leading mindfulness curricula in the UK, .b and Paws b. More information is available at www.mindfulnessinschools.org.
4. For more information on the conference please call 07941 154866 or email email@example.com.
TEACHERS NEED MINDFULNESS AS MUCH AS PUPILS, CONFERENCE HEARS – 11th November 2015
Teachers who want to introduce mindfulness to their schools should have a solid understanding of the practice first, a major UK conference will hear.
Delegates attending the Mindfulness in Education Conference 2016 will be told that without a thorough grounding in the meditative technique they are unlikely to get its benefits across to their pupils.
Keynote speaker Richard Burnett will tell delegates: “Good mindfulness practice helps teachers cope with the pressures and stress of the job, but it offers more too. Teachers tell us that training in mindfulness gives them a greater sense of proportion and equanimity, and helps them rediscover why they became a teacher in the first place.”
Burnett, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Schools Project which is hosting the conference, will also point out that a shift in focus on well-being among teachers could help turn around the high drop-out rates from the profession.
The event in London this January will hear from a number of leading academics and practitioners:
• Political historian and educationalist Sir Anthony Seldon will chair a panel of teachers and young people exploring how mindfulness works in schools.
• Juan Coto, “mental” coach to Britain’s top woman tennis player Johanna Konta, will oversee a session on mindfulness in sport.
• Mark Williams, Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology and co-author of the international best-seller Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World, will explain the tenets of mindfulness.
• Professor Willem Kuyken, Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, will invite teachers and schools to get involved in the recently-launched Wellcome Trust-funded research project, MYRIAD.
• Katherine Weare, Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Southampton, will discuss mindfulness in the wider context of social and emotional learning.
• Tim Loughton MP, co-chair of the Mindfulness All Party Parliamentary Group, will outline current policy.
• Jamie Bristow, Director of the Mindfulness Initiative which is advising the parliamentary group, will talk about the future of mindfulness in education.
The conference, the biggest of its kind in the UK, is expected to play host to around 700 delegates.
Notes to editors
1. The conference, Mindfulness and Education: Well-being and Resilience for Young People, takes place on January 22nd 2016 from 8.30am to 4.30pm at the Institute of Education, University College London, Bedford Way. More information on the event is available here.
2. The conference is being organised by the non-profit-making Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), which introduced secular mindfulness to British education seven years ago and aims to encourage, support and research mindfulness teaching in schools.
3. MYRIAD (Mindfulness and Resilience in Adolescence), the Wellcome Trust’s seven-year research project, is the largest study of its kind in the world on the effectiveness of mindfulness in education. More details of this can be found here.
4. For more information, to attend the conference or to request an interview please call 07941 154866 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
SCOTTISH TEACHERS SIGN UP FOR MINDFULNESS TRAINING – 1st September 2015
Teachers from around Scotland are being given the opportunity to learn mindfulness skills directly from the organisation that pioneered the meditative technique in UK classrooms.
Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), which introduced secular mindfulness to British education seven years ago, is holding training sessions for both secondary and primary teachers in Edinburgh this October.
Participants who have aready undergone an introductory mindfulness course will learn how to pass their new skills on to their pupils, equipping them with techniques to potentially improve their mental, emotional, social and physical health and wellbeing.
Two courses are available: either the .b (pronounced ‘dot be’) curriculum, which is aimed at secondary schools, or its primary equivalent, Paws b (‘pause be’). Both were developed by teachers and senior mindfulness experts and are recognised as the leading courses of their kind in the UK. They also form the basis of the biggest ever study of the effectiveness of mindfulness in education launched this summer by Oxford University and funded by the Wellcome Trust.
MiSP Director Claire Kelly said: “We’ve already begun the process of mindfulness training among Scottish secondary school teachers and those who work in other contexts with this age group, but this is the first time we are offering the primary course as well. We are a not-for-profit organisation and our aim is to bring the benefits of good mindfulness practice to schools.”
“We know from our own experience that staff and pupils enjoy mindfulness lessons and independent research suggests that mindfulness practice has the potential to reduce stress, anxiety, reactivity and bad behavior and improve sleep and self-esteem. It can also help young people pay greater attention, use existing knowledge more effectively and can enhance problem-solving and reasoning skills. We are looking forward to meeting educational professionals in Scotland who want to learn these skills for themselves and pass them on to their pupils.”
Shelagh Rodger, who is a teacher at St George’s School in Edinburgh and who has been trained in .b, said: “I’ve had great feedback from the pupils who took my mindfulness sessions. I think it’s important that if we’re going to try and pass on skills that help children to cope better with everyday pressures then we have to do it in a way that is fun and interesting to them and the .b course delivered on that and so many other fronts.”
The training courses, which take up to four days, consist of real-time lessons, pedagogy sessions, discussion groups and opportunties for participants to practice leading the exercises with each other.
MiSP is also currently working in collaboration with Aberdeen University as part of a project to gain professional recognition by the General Teaching Council for Scotland for teachers attending these courses.
Notes to Editors
1. Mindfulness in Schools Project was founded by teachers Richard Burnett and Chris Cullen in 2007. The first class was taught in 2008 and since then more than 1,700 people have attended its courses, reaching an estimated 18,000 pupils.
More details about MiSP and about Mindfulness itself are available at www.mindfulnessinschools.org.
2. For more details of the courses please click here.
3. The .b course has been formally evaluated in a research programme by the Universities of Exeter and Cambridge. Their report is available here.
Its courses have also been chosen as part of the UK’s largest ever study on the effectiveness of Mindfulness in education. More information can be found here.
4. For press and media enquiries please call 07941 154866 or email email@example.com
UK MINDFULNESS PIONEERS PROVIDE TRAINING FOR MAJOR NEW STUDY – 16th July 2015
Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), which pioneered the use of Mindfulness in UK education, is pleased and excited to be part of the largest study of its kind on the subject.
The not-for-profit organisation’s ground-breaking curriculum will be at the core of the study launched by the Wellcome Trust today.
The £6.4m research programme will include the first large-scale randomised control trial of Mindfulness training for young people and will take place in 76 schools, involving nearly 6,000 students aged 11-14. It will begin next year and run for seven years.
The aim of the study is to assess whether Mindfulness techniques have any impact on the mental resilience of young people, particularly at such a vulnerable stage in their lives.
It will be carried out by teams at the University of Oxford, University College London and the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, in collaboration with the University of Exeter.
The teachers taking part in the study will be given introductory eight-week courses by the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and will then go on to be trained by MiSP to teach their .b curriculum to pupils.
The .b (pronounced “dot.be”) curriculum has been devised by experienced teachers and Mindfulness practitioners for secondary schools and is recognised as the leading course of its kind in the UK. Since the first MiSP class was taught in 2008, more than 1,700 people have attended its courses, reaching an estimated 18,000 pupils.
MiSP Director Claire Kelly says: “We have taken part in many research studies on the effectiveness of Mindfulness in schools but this is the biggest and most thorough to date. We’re very proud that a curriculum that we worked so long and hard to produce will be at the centre of this study.”
“Our aim is to help equip young people with skills that allow them to train their attention to focus, when they choose to, to the here and now, rather than becoming overwhelmed with worry about what has happened or might happen. Passing these skills to young people helps them cope positively and calmly with what life throws at them and has the potential to impact beneficially on their learning.”
Notes to editors
1. MiSP is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to encourage, support and research the teaching of secular Mindfulness in schools. It trains teachers in its curricula for both secondary and primary schools.
2. MiSP has an on-going programme of training courses around the country. More information on these can also be found on the website.
3. Testimonials by pupils and students who have studied the .b course can be found here.
For further media information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
PIONEERING TEACHER TRAINING COURSES BRING MINDFULNESS TO A NEW GENERATION OF SCHOOL CHILDREN – 24th June 2015
A series of training courses for teachers aims to bring the benefits of Mindfulness to the classroom for children as young as seven.
The training programmes, starting in July, have been developed by experts to improve pupils’ resilience and well-being and encourage positive attitudes towards learning.
The courses have been created by Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), which pioneered the use of the meditative technique in UK schools and has trained teachers from 12 countries in its highly-regarded secondary school curriculum.
Since the first MiSP class was taught in 2008, more than 1,700 people have attended its courses, reaching an estimated 18,000 pupils.
Three types of training schedule are available:
- .b (or “dot be”) – the curriculum for 11-18-year olds. Passing on the skills picked up from this course has the potential to improve secondary school pupils’ resilience and well-being, helping them tackle academic and social challenges and cope with depressive symptoms.
- Paws b is the curriculum for 7-11-year olds. A specially-adapted course bringing Mindfulness methods to the youngest pupils in a fun and accessible way.
- .b Foundations is an eight-week course introducing the concept of Mindfulness and is taught in-house in participating schools.
Teachers new to the concept of Mindfulness can also opt for a 90-minute taster session before engaging on the full courses.
MiSP has been at the forefront of bringing Mindfulness to UK schools. It is endorsed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the leading US academic who developed Mindfulness as a stress-reduction technique, and is a consultant member of the All Party Parliamentary Group looking into the potential uses of Mindfulness in public service.
This is the first time such a comprehensive range of Mindfulness training courses are available for young people and they take place across the British Isles and abroad.
Director Claire Kelly says: “.b stands for stop, pause and be and it’s absolutely at the heart of what we teach: the ability to direct our attention, when we choose to, to the here and now, rather than becoming overwhelmed with worry about what has happened or might happen. Passing these skills to children helps them cope positively and calmly with what life throws at them and has the potential to impact beneficially on their learning.”
“Our aim is to give teachers the opportunity to get the hang of Mindfulness for themselves before they teach it to the children.”
Willem Kuyken, Professor of Clinical Psychology at University of Oxford and the author of a pilot trial of .b, says: “Our pilot work in the British Journal of Psychiatry suggests the .b curriculum is both acceptable to schools, teachers and young people and shows promise in enhancing the resilience of young people.”
“My impression is that this is because it teaches skills and attitudes very explicitly, tailors its components to the needs of young people, uses a range of age-appropriate and lively teaching methods and is supported by a manual and indicative script.”
As the use of Mindfulness in teaching has grown worldwide, so has the study of its effectiveness. According to Katherine Weare, Emeritus Professor at the universities of Exeter and Southampton, who studies the impact of Mindfulness on education: “The overall evidence base for the effectiveness of Mindfulness for adults is becoming well-established across many areas. Reviews bringing together different studies have deduced reliably replicable impacts on mental and physical health, behaviour and performance of various kinds, and many indicators of quality of life and well-being.”
Notes to Editors
1. Mindfulness is a scientifically-backed process where a subject learns to pay attention to thoughts, emotions and body sensations and to experience life as it unfolds rather than fixating on the past or future.
2. MiSP is a not-for-profit organisation aiming to encourage, support and research the teaching of secular Mindfulness in schools.
3. The .b curriculum has been used with a wider variety of groups, including pupils with English as a second language and young people with autism spectrum disorders.
4. Course details are on the MiSP website.
5. Further details of academic studies into the effectives of Mindfulness can be found here.