1. Completion of an 8-week secular mindfulness course in person
Your 8 week course must have been an in person or live-online, teacher-led, group-based 8 week secular mindfulness course. The following courses are accepted:
- .b Foundations
- Finding Peace in a Frantic World (teacher-led version only)
- Mindfulness-Based Living Course (MBLC)
- MSC (8-week version only and must have read the Frantic World)
- Mindfulness For Life
- The Present for Adults
Your course should have run for a minimum of 90 minutes per week for a period of 8 weeks. You must be certified by a qualified adult mindfulness teacher that you have completed an 8-week secular mindfulness course with them and give the name of your teacher and the date of the course.
This training forms an essential foundation and experiential understanding of a range of mindfulness practices that are necessary for teaching Paws b, and it is assumed that you have engaged in these practises extensively before attending a Teach Paws b course.
- If, due to exceptional circumstances, you would like us to consider an alternative training pathway to those listed above, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that we are unable to hold places until an application form is received.
- The 8 week .b Foundations course is not available as a public course. .b Foundations is designed to be delivered ‘on site’ in schools for school staff. For more information on how to bring an 8-week .b Foundation to your school or institution click here. The equivalent course available publicly (online) is .begin.
- To find further-approved 8-week courses near you, please go to the British Association for Mindfulness-based Approaches (BAMBA) website.
- Experience of working or volunteering with groups of children aged 7-11 years old is essential to Paws b teachers as Teach Paws b is not a course which teaches the classroom teaching and management skills needed when working with groups of young people.
To ensure there is time to continue to explore and deepen the practices you have learned on your 8 week mindfulness course, we require at least 2-3 months’ embedding period (depending on previous mindfulness experience) between the completion of your 8-week course and starting a Train to Teach Paws b course.
However, you can apply to attend the Teach Paws b course once you reach the end of your 8-week course, provided you commit to ongoing regular personal practice.
We would expect this personal practice to involve a range of practices, including the formal practices explored as part of an 8-week secular mindfulness course, such as Breath and Body, Sounds and Thoughts, Turning Towards Difficulty, Body Scan, Gratitude and Compassion practices.
While shorter practices built into your day such as mindful eating, walking and breath awareness also form an important part of your deepening mindful awareness, we ask that you aim for a daily formal practice where possible for 20 consecutive minutes per day for the reasons outlined in 3. below.
For example, you may choose to focus in on body scan practices for one week, then explore other formal practices in subsequent weeks such as body and breath, sounds and thoughts or other silent practices. While it is important that you find practices that works for you, it is also important that you investigate and try the practices we list above. This allows you to develop both a broad and deep, experiential understanding of mindfulness practices. It will also form the foundation of your understanding and experience when it comes to leading a range of practices as part of the Paws b curriculum.
3. At least 2-3 months of mindfulness practice from the end of your 8-week course and the start of the Teach Paws b training
We are often asked why we ask potential teachers of Paws b to have such an established personal mindfulness practice of their own. There are two main reasons for this:
i) The key ideas and practices that underlie the most well-respected and widely researched 8-week adult mindfulness courses such as MBSR and MBCT provide the scaffolding that underlies the Paws b curriculum. Before training to teach Paws b to young people, it is assumed that those who attend our teacher training courses have a well-embedded experiential understanding of the key practices involved in these adult 8-week courses. This will then support you when leading young people in the range of practices explored in Paws b and allow you to deal more skilfully with any questions or responses that arise out of them.
ii) This period of 2-3 months embedding helps to stabilise and deepen your practice, which leads to a level of familiarity with the subtle workings of your mind. This in turn strengthens your capacity to model mindfulness in holding the experience of others and to respond skilfully if difficult situations arise for young people in the classroom.
Can I apply before I have completed 2-3 months of practice?
Whilst we require a minimum of 2-3 months’ practice from the end of your 8-week course, you may submit an application form as you reach the end of your 8-week course to help you plan ahead and find a course location to suit you. This is with the understanding that you will maintain your practice.
Please note: We would also like to encourage applicants to attend regular mindfulness practice days to deepen their understanding of mindfulness and read Finding Peace in a Frantic World (Mark Williams) and either Full Catastrophe Living or Wherever You Go, There You Are (Jon Kabat-Zinn).
4. Attending and participating in the Teach Paws b course
The Teach Paws b course involves intensive training over a number of days or sessions.
During the course, participants will be taught the lessons in ‘real time’ by experienced MiSP trainers. There will then be opportunities to discuss the pedagogy of each lesson and how it can best be taught to a group of young people in different settings. There will also be opportunities to work with other participants guiding them, and being guided by them, the main mindfulness practices from the lessons. Each day begins and ends with a longer formal mindfulness practice to help support you in further developing your own mindfulness experience. At the end of the course, participants will hopefully feel nourished, confident and ready to teach the lessons to young people. They will also be part of a network of Paws b teachers, supported by Mindfulness in Schools Project and will leave with access to all the materials they need to teach the Paws b course in the classroom.
- Full participation in all aspects of the course will allow you to leave feeling confident in the Paws b course and in your ability to teach it to young people. This will include whole group discussion, exercises in smaller groups, and (when delivered online) will require your video to be on for most of the time.
- In very exceptional circumstances a trainer may have concerns about a participant’s engagement in or readiness to go on to teach the Paws b course to young people. In this case, the trainer will discuss this with the participant and other members of the training team with a final decision about whether or not the participant should be certified as a trained Paws b teacher left in the hands of the Lead Trainer.
- Full attendance on all days’ / sessions of the training (including formal practices at the beginning and end of each day) is required for full certification and access to teacher materials as a Paws b teacher. While we appreciate that unavoidable situations might occur resulting in a participant missing a part of a training course, e.g. serious injury or a family member being taken ill, the decision as to whether or not the participant is then allowed to continue with the course will be at the trainer’s discretion. If a whole day or more is missed, the participant will be asked to attend the equivalent day(s) / session(s) in question on a future Teach Paws b training course and will incur an additional fee.
NB Applicants from outside of the UK must: Meet the above prerequisites and be able to speak and understand English to an Upper Intermediate Level, i.e. be able to interact fluently with native speakers, communicate effectively and understand everyday language.
5. Ongoing commitment as a Paws b teacher
Being a Paws b teacher is not just about teaching mindfulness. If mindfulness is to become an established part of the education of children and young people, it is vital that the highest standards of professionalism and evidence-based integrity are maintained. We believe that this is in the interests of all those teaching mindfulness and the young people learning it. We ask that anyone applying to train to teach Paws b commits to the following and agrees to continue to adhere to these standards on an ongoing basis.
Personal Mindfulness Practice
Having an established personal mindfulness practice allows you to:
- Teach mindfully
- Embody mindfulness
- Model mindfulness to young people
- Guide practices with awareness
- Skilfully respond in enquiry
Teaching Mindfulness to Young People
- Ability to engage pupils in a classroom setting
- Good class management skills
- Good communication skills
- Willingness to inform and include staff and school senior leadership in the mindfulness work in the school in which you are teaching.
- Agree not to train others nor share the course materials to enable others to deliver the curriculum