AVOID QUICK FIX “McMINDFULNESS”, TEACHERS WARNED – 22nd January 2016
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 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