Teaching MiSP Curricula Online

Safeguarding children and young people is our top priority when advising MiSP trained teachers if they can deliver our curricula online. Please read the guidance below carefully and follow the advice given.

Can I teach dots, Paws b, .breathe or .b ONLINE to students in their own homes or elsewhere whilst they are not physically attending school?

Generally speaking, no. For safeguarding reasons, it is not appropriate to teach children our curricula online. It is simply not possible to know what is going on for those young people in their home environments. There may be a lack of privacy, unsupportive family members, family discord, high levels of anxiety and stress. Therefore, generally we do not permit teaching our curricula to young people, remotely, online. Please see our recent article.

In particular, independent external teachers (not employed and salaried by the school) are not permitted to deliver dots, Paws b, .breathe or .b online under any circumstances.

The dots curriculum particularly is designed for delivery in a school or pre-school setting and is not suitable to be delivered online to children who are not in a ‘bricks and mortar’ classroom in a school or setting. This is due to both the ages of the children involved and also the nature of the dots materials, practices and activities. For the avoidance of doubt, we do not permit trained dots teachers to deliver this curriculum online to children.

The risks for both student and teacher are just too great, no matter how much benefit you feel they will get from such sessions. PLEASE don’t do it!

In very specific circumstances, you may teach Paws b, .breathe or .b in this way, but only if you meet certain strict criteria …

Who is eligible to teach .b, Paws b or .breathe ONLINE and what needs to be in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both teacher and student?

The only people who should consider teaching Paws b, .breathe and .b remotely are school teachers working with the approval of the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead and within the framework of their usual school day. You must meet the following criteria:

  • You are under a contract of employment with the school (i.e a school employee) and therefore bound by the school’s safeguarding policies
  • The school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) has approved of your teaching Paws b, .breathe or .b online.
  • You are working within a framework set up by the school, for example within the school’s timetable for remote learning. If it is not within the usual timetable, Senior Leaders must have approved of these sessions happening ‘off timetable’.
  • Sessions must be delivered via the school’s approved Virtual Learning Environment. For the avoidance of doubt, if you are unable to deliver the curricula using the school’s approved Virtual Learning Environment (for example Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom), then you are not permitted to teach it online. Skype or Zoom can only be used to deliver sessions if the school has approved its use as a teaching platform.
  • You are only teaching pupils from your own school (i.e not pupils from any other school or your pupils’ siblings at the same time).
  • You are always working with groups of pupils (for example, your class) and never one-to-one.
  • You are following guidelines from the DSL about whether you are allowed to work with smaller groups (e.g. two or three pupils) and if so, whether lessons should be recorded for safeguarding reasons.
  • If you are employed by the school but have not taught the class or any individuals in the class before, you should only consider doing so after consulting with the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead.
  • You are aware of any ongoing pastoral concerns with the pupils you are teaching, as you would be as their classroom teacher. You understand the school’s safeguarding procedures should there be any concern regarding the wellbeing of a young person taking part. For example, if a young person becomes upset during a practice or discloses something that is a cause for concern, what actions need to be taken and who should be informed?

Please note: You should be familiar with the technological and interpersonal challenges of teaching online. MiSP is not able to provide you with technical support. Should there be a problem, please refer to the school’s ICTS department

Things to consider when teaching .b or Paws b online

  1. Please be aware that later lessons in Paws b and .b involve deeper practice and there is the potential for stronger emotional responses that will be much harder to hold in a virtual learning environment.
  2. Review the needs of your group, and as a teacher who knows them well, you will need to use your own judgement as to whether the lesson content is appropriate for your group at this time.
  3. Lessons 1-6 of Paws b and 1-5 of .b involve relatively light touch, shorter practices, but keep practices short, bouncy, and don’t use the ‘mindfulness teacher voice’, i.e. one that encourages them to go deep into practice through being too soft and floaty!
  4. Keep enquiry very brief and horizontal. If students are unable to see each other on the platform in question, you will need to consider how to normalise responses so that the young people can feel that their experiences should not cause worry or concern. You may need to use more of, ‘ah, I can see a lot of nodding of heads’-type feedback to ensure this happens.
  5. .b and Paws b should not be delivered as ‘broadcast’ sessions, i.e. ones where there is no interaction between students and teacher.

If you still have further questions please email enquiries@mindfulnessinschools.org