On the training course
Full attendance on all days 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 / .b teacher.While we appreciate that unavoidable situations might occur resulting in a participant missing part of a training course, e.g. serious injury or a family member being taken ill, whether or not the participant is then allowed to continue with the course will be at the trainer’s discretion. If a participant is going to miss one session, e.g. one lesson, it is at the lead trainer’s discretion whether or not they feel able to spend time with them helping them to catch up on what they have missed.
However, if a large section, or a whole day or more is missed, the participant will be asked to attend the equivalent day(s) in question on a future Teach Paws b / .b training course and will incur an additional fee.
Where and how should .b / Paws b be taught?
In some schools, trained .b and Paws b teachers have offered the course to fellow staff or parents of students at the school or organisation where it is taught. This can be a wonderful way of informing the adults in question about what the students are learning, developing a shared language and understanding of what mindfulness involves.What we ask is that it is made clear that .b and Paws b are not intended as training courses for adults. While they may be an excellent opportunity to ‘dip toes’ into some of the key ideas and practices, if parents or colleagues want to experience the full potential benefits of mindfulness, they should go on to take part in a recognised adult mindfulness courses, e.g. MBSR, MBCT, .b Foundations etc.
It is acceptable to teach the course to colleagues within your own work place as an opportunity for them to understand the content and terminology of the course students are following. The course should not be advertised or taught to adults outside of your workplace and it is not a course designed for delivery to adults in a public setting..b is for young people, and not specifically designed for adults. However it can be a fantastic introduction to mindfulness for colleagues and parents, giving them a sense of what you are teaching to students.
This course does NOT qualify you to train others to deliver the curriculum. Nor may you share the teaching resources with others. If your place on a Teach Paws b or Teach .b course is going to be funded by your school or other organisation, we recommend you make this clear to them before enrolling for this course.
NO! Paws b and .b must not be run as public courses, ie outside the context of a school, sports club or other educational or youth-related organisation. This is clearly explained on the MiSP website:Within the context of established organisations, there are safeguarding processes in place, and staff trained in safeguarding who support you and the children should any issues can arise. These staff should know the students well, and be able to inform you of any difficulties a student might be experiencing/have experienced (e.g. trauma, physical or mental illness, behaviour management issues, or bereavement) which could affect how they receive and respond to the materials in .b / Paws b. They can also be on hand in the classes themselves should any of these issues arise.
When running a public course with young people, consent and disclosure forms are required from parents. Parents signing a consent or disclosure form may not always be honest or able to give a full picture of their child’s needs.
Children attending a public course will often be there because their parents believe they ‘need’ mindfulness. This may not be how the young person feels. They could therefore be a particularly tough group to work with.
Such a parental perception could then also frame the .b or Paws b teacher very much as someone providing an ‘intervention’ or ‘treatment’ for any of the issues believed to exist. This is not what these curricula are intended to be. The hope is that .b / Paws b are for ALL young people between the ages of 11 and 18 years – not just those experiencing difficulty.
If the course is taught outside schools but within another organised context such as sports clubs or scout groups, where safeguarding policies and procedures are already in place, then that should be fine but the .b / Paws b teacher should meet with the organisation and ensure that they have everything in pace to allow for a safe and supported course to run.
The roots of the MiSP classroom-based curricula (.b and Paws b) are MBSR (Mindfulness-Based-Stress-Reduction) and MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive-Therapy), the two most well-researched and evidence-based mindfulness programmes available. However, .b and Paws b are not therapeutic interventions; they are curricula designed to introduce young people to the potential benefits of mindfulness in the safety of the school classroom. Taught by well-trained teachers. .b and Paws b offer a toolkit of practices which aim to dip children’s toes into mindfulness in ways which they find helpful and enjoyable. To have a significant impact these curricula should sit within a school’s broader frameworks of social and emotional learning, safeguarding and pastoral support.A key finding from the early research is that pupils enjoy .b and Paws b and there is certainly no evidence to suggest that any harm is caused by this relatively low exposure to simple, secular mindfulness practices. Indeed, early research suggests that mindfulness may provide young people with a valuable life skill by supporting them in number of areas: to feel calmer and more fulfilled; to get on better with others; to concentrate and learn; to manage stress and anxiety; to perform well in music and sport. However, it is certainly not a panacea and, as with adult groups, there are some young people for whom mindfulness training is not advisable, namely those in very severe distress, or at the extreme end of clinically diagnosed anxiety or depression. Further research is needed to deepen and test our understanding of this. MiSP is therefore committed to further research into the effects of mindfulness for both staff and pupils in schools. We are particularly excited to be involved in the large-scale, Wellcome Trust-funded MYRIAD research project.
It would also be a good idea to read the article – Is Mindfulness Safe? – published by the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.
Both Paws b and .b are intended as courses that all students can and should be able to access. Having said that, some timetabling or other logistical issues might mean that not all classes in a year group are able to attend sessions. This might also be the case if the course is offered as an extra-curricular activity.If the school feels the need to inform parents about the course, some may (due to misapprehensions about what the course involves/intends to achieve) wish to withdraw their son or daughter. This is their prerogative, but shouldn’t happen, provided the parents are informed beforehand about what the course is actually all about.
It is very rare for children to be withdrawn from the .b / Paws b course, but if you find this happens, do feel free to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
One word of warning: in some cases, a school might decide to ‘give’ you a group of students who they believe ‘need’ mindfulness training because of emotional, behavioural or social issues. If you are trained in some form of intervention, e.g. as a school counsellor or therapist, this may not be a problem. However, you need to make it very clear to the school that .b and Paws b are not designed to be therapeutic interventions. They are classroom-based curricula for all students to experience.
MiSP is currently working on a further 5 lessons to allow the .b course to spiral through schools and across year groups, and hopes to do the same with Paws b in the future. These probably won’t be ready for a year or two.Needless to say, it takes time to establish mindfulness within a school culture, but there are several schools who have now begun to do this with .b and Paws b in a variety of ways:
For example, some begin teaching Paws b in Year 3, or .b in Year 7, and then re-visit some of the lessons the following year. In Year 5/9 they may offer mindfulness as a lunchtime or after-school activity, and in Year 6/10-11 continue to do this while offering one-off sessions in assembly or PSHE slots around specific issues – particularly as exams approach, or specific issues arise within the year group as a whole.
A similar approach has been used schools teaching Paws b. Indeed, here, the students have taken on an ambassadorial role, teaching their younger peers some of the practices, and speaking at assemblies and other school events about their experiences.
MiSP is currently working on providing some case studies about how schools have begun to roll out mindfulness – what has worked well, what they would do differently next time. When ready, these will be available on the Teachers’ Network.
MiSP’s Reconnect Days are events where you can join together with other .b and Paws b teachers and share ideas around exactly these issues. Please contact email@example.com to find out more about this.
Meanwhile, .b Foundations (the eight-week training for teachers and those working in education who wish to learn the foundations of mindfulness) has been delivered very successfully to staff in a variety of educational settings, but also to 16-18 year-olds at 6th form level in the UK. However, these are exceptional circumstances and it should be emphasised that .b was developed with 11-16 year-olds in mind.
For self-employed teachers/those working outside of schools
If you are not currently working in the school where you hope to teach Paws b or .b, the prospect of getting a foot in the door may feel daunting.Firstly, within the resources on the Teachers’ Network you will find ‘Letters to Parents and School Senior Leaders’. This is a template for a letter you might like to use when approaching school.
When you do so, please bear in mind that schools are inundated with unsolicited emails and post on a daily basis. At best, they may drop to the bottom on an inbox or in-tray never to be seen again. At worst, they will simply be binned / deleted before even being read. To avoid this happening, you need to be clear about the person to whom you’re writing and. If possible, address your letter to the person by name and also mention their position, e.g. ‘Deputy Head (Pastoral)’, ‘Head of Year 7’, etc.
Because both .b and Paws b sit so well within a broader PSHE curriculum, it is often wise to start with the person responsible for the PSHE course within the school, as well as they person responsible for the year groups you are most interested in teaching – ‘Head of Year…’
If you are able, suggest a free taster session to senior leadership, the staff or a group of students. This will often reassure schools that you are well trained and that the curriculum is suitable.
If you are self-employed, or going into schools from another organisation, you will need to consider a whole range of issues before approaching a school. For example:DBS Checks/Safeguarding training: When working in any context involving young people, you will be required to have a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check – previously known as ‘CRB’ checks – in place, and may be asked by the school to attend additional safeguarding training.
Only schools and other employers can request a DBS check. You as a visiting teacher can’t do a criminal records check on yourself. Instead, you can request a basic disclosure from Disclosure Scotland (you don’t have to be from Scotland to do this).
For more information, see the Government website overview.
Indemnity insurance: When employed by a school, your employer will have insurance policies in place to protect you, but as a self-employed person, you would be wise to have your own indemnity insurance in place. Insurance companies should be able to advise you on what you need.
Finding and approaching schools: As a self-employed .b / Paws b teacher, MiSP is not able to find you work. However, you can request to appear on the .b or Paws b Teachers’ Map on the MiSP website. This is where we signpost anyone enquiring about how to find a trained .b / Paws b teacher.
Also, in the Teachers’ Network, there are suggested letters to send to schools and/or parents, as well as useful flyers and summaries of research findings around the benefits of mindfulness for both adults and children.
Marketing the .b / Paws b courses
Logos: The MiSP, .b, Paws b, .b Foundations and any other logos you may see on the MiSP website and other documents are trademarked logos and are for MiSP’s exclusive use only.As a trained .b / Paws b / .b Foundations teacher you have access to your own ‘Trained to Teach’ logo to use on your own website/for marketing and advertising purposes.
This is for your use only as a MiSP-trained teacher and must not be passed on to anyone who has not completed the appropriate training with MiSP or MiSP-approved training partners. It can be downloaded from the Teachers’ Network, along with posters and other resources containing approved images and logos.
Images, Text and Other Materials: As a MiSP-trained teacher, you have access to a series of images such as posters and flyers through the Teachers’ Network which you are free to use on your website.
As these materials have been created by MiSP. If you do use these on promotional materials, we would ask for acknowledgement of where the images come from or, better still, that you provide a link from them directly to the MiSP website.
If there is something specific you would like to use that can be found in any MiSP materials, please do contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your needs. If we are unable to give you access to certain materials, we may be able to recommend an alternative.
As someone who has trained with MiSP to teach a MiSP curriculum, you can describe yourself as a ‘Trained .b / Paws b / .b Foundations Teacher’ (delete as applicable). You are not a ‘member of MiSP’, a ‘MiSP Teacher’ or ‘MiSP Trainer’.The key is to make it clear that you are an independent teacher as opposed to an employee of MiSP.
There are a few lovely examples of websites created by MiSP – trained teachers, and we would be happy to share the links to these with you if of interest.If you have any further questions, please contact email@example.com
What next? Accessing Resources and The Hub
Within three working days of the end of the course you should receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org providing you with access to an online form through which you can provide feedback on your experience of the training and information on how to access your teaching materials.Please note that this email can sometimes end up in ‘Junk’/’Spam’ folders, so if you haven’t received your email after three days, please check your folders. If you still can’t see the email, please contact email@example.com who are there to help you if you need any help registering and logging in.
MiSP greatly values participant feedback and, where possible, factor any suggestions you have into future developments of our training and curriculum. Please be honest and open and take the time to provide this for us. You will be able to access your teaching materials via The Hub section on the MiSP website, but first you will have to set up your account.
Here is how you set up access to your teaching materials:
- You will need to create your user account by following a link and creating your own username and password.
- You will receive an email saying that we have received your registration request. We will then ‘approve’ your account and notify you by email once you can log into the Teachers’ Network.
- Just to remind you that this will be complimentary for the first 6 months, in which time you should download all the teaching materials in order to use them whenever you need in the future.
Once you have trained to teach any of our curricula, you have six months of automatic access to The Hub from which you can download all the resources associated with that curriculum to save on your own computer/storage device in perpetuity. They are yours to continue using for as long as you wish.The Hub continues to develop with updated versions of the curricula and additional resources added on a regular basis. But these take time to create and produce. For example, creating a new lesson in .b or Paws b costs several thousand pounds. An ongoing annual fee of £90 to continue to access these new materials and updates therefore helps to pay for these developments.
Please note: If you train to teach more than one curriculum, the fee would still be £90.
About the curriculum and the resources
As we mention in our Terms and Conditions, while we are always happy to discuss possible minor changes to our materials in order to make sure that they are accessible for specific target groups – e.g. more culturally appropriate images or language – the materials are copyrighted and the intellectual property of MiSP, so any changes MUST be approved by us.If you feel you need to make major changes to the materials in order to help it fit your target group, it is likely that the .b / Paws b curriculum is not an appropriate one for the group in question.
A great deal of the time and experience has gone into creating these materials. .b and Paws b have been used in over 40 countries, translated into 11 languages, and delivered in everything from schools and colleges to adolescent mental health units and young offenders’ institutions. Its integrity lies in the quality of the materials themselves, and the consistency with which they are taught.
This consistency then allows us to compare, in a meaningful way, research evidence from .b studies on a national and international level, building a bigger, more statistically reliable picture of the ways in which .b and Paws b can benefit young people.
Try these lessons as they are to get used to them. They have been extensively trialled and improved. If, having dome this, you still feel you would like to make changes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org who will discuss with you your ideas.
Sometimes the videos won’t play through the power point presentations. This is partly because of issues with software not matching up, or simply because the video files were too large to embed in the PowerPoint Show.This is why we also provide separate versions of the film clips in the ‘Videos’ section of the Teacher Resources for Paws b and .b. We also have Mac versions of the film clips for Mac users using Quicktime.
If you can’t play the film clip directly from the power point show, it’s a good idea to download the film clips you need, then keep the PowerPoint and the film clip open and ready to play on your screen. You can then ‘toggle’ in and out of the film clip by pressing the ‘alt’ and tab keys. Keep pressing at ‘Tab’ key as you hold down the ‘alt’ key, and release it when the framed image stops at the screen you want to use next (PowerPoint or film clip). You can then do the same again to get back to where you were. There is a PDF which explains how to do this in the Teachers’ Network.
If the film clips won’t play, it may be that you will need to download some standard software that recognises most formats. The most reliable one is VLC which you can download from here.
Developing a mindfulness programme in your school can feel like a lonely business, and difficult to make sustainable.There are a number of ways in which MiSP can support you in this:
- We have a designated team on call to help support you in this process, so please do contact email@example.com.
- Convincing senior leadership teams about the benefits of mindfulness for both young people and staff can result in invaluable support for your strategies. We therefore offer Information Events designed to provide a taste of what mindfulness is like, and its potential benefits.
- Being the only member of staff in a school who practices mindfulness or has had any mindfulness training can make it difficult to develop strategies and gain support. The most affordable longer-term path to embed mindfulness in your school or chain of schools is to have a member of staff trained to deliver mindfulness training in-house. The School Mindfulness Lead training is intended to help school staff to develop a more sustainable, in-house model for mindfulness training and development. The course prepares .b and Paws b teachers to lead the .b Foundations taster session and 8-session curriculum, but also to become a ‘mindfulness lead’ within the school or educational organisation where they are employed. Please note: This training will enable you to deliver the .b Foundations course to staff within the safeguarded environment of your school. It is important that you are permanently based in a school so you are on hand to support staff in developing their practice beyond the 8-week course. The course does not equip teachers to become external providers of mindfulness training to schools other than the one in which they are employed.
Teach .b and Teach Paws b courses train you to teach the curriculum to young people. In the Terms and Conditions (click here for the Teach .b Terms & Conditions, click here for the Teach Paws b Terms & Conditions) for attending these courses, it is made clear that: In order to teach the curriculum you must have been granted a Certificate of Training from MiSP or an authorised partner.Hopefully, having been on the journey of meeting prerequisites to attend the course and then the 3- or 4-day training to teach the curriculum you now understand how intensive this training is, and the skills, knowledge and experience needed to do this safely and skilfully.
MiSP trainers themselves have been through the same process of training, followed by training to teach adult mindfulness courses (.b Foundations, MBSR, MBCT etc), and then followed an extensive trainer pathway with MiSP to become .b / Paws b teacher trainers. The reputation of both MiSP and its trained teachers for providing high quality training and materials stems mainly from the depth of experience on all fronts.
We welcome those who are interested in becoming a teacher trainer and who meet the following requirements:
- Experienced mindfulness practitioner – at least two years of regular personal practice, teacher-led courses and retreats
- Experienced teacher of .b or Paws b as relevant – at least three full courses taught to classes of children, preferably to different age groups
- Ideally, but not essentially, formally trained as an adult mindfulness teacher through an accredited training route
- An experienced classroom teacher who is consistently observed as at least ‘good’ or an experienced teacher of adults in group settings
- Dynamic and interactive teacher of .b / Paws b lessons providing models of good teaching practice
- Willingness to be observed and to receive and act on feedback
- Willingness to act as part of the training team and to support wherever needed – setting up and clearing away refreshments, liaising with caterers, distributing handouts etc
N.B. Priority will be given to those in areas where we are holding training courses. Those approved will be added to a list of potential future trainers and contacted if an opportunity arises. MiSP can’t guarantee that someone will contacted, and can’t guarantee how many training courses will be offered per year if someone does start on the pathway to becoming a full trainer.
MiSP’s trainer pathway, as with so many things in the world of mindfulness, is a slow and careful process. I should also say that courses happen sporadically throughout the year, many of them in holiday time to allow teachers to attend. As result, being a .b / Paws b trainer on its own certainly won’t pay the mortgage, so don’t give up the day job yet!
If still interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other areas of MiSP’s work
Not yet, and certainly not in the immediate future. In the longer term, we may be in a position to develop a separate Younger Years curriculum, but at the moment, all our resources are allocated to continuing development of .b, Paws b and our .b Foundations curriculum for school staff.If you don’t know of them already, there are some wonderful books aimed at introducing simple keys practices to younger children, including ‘The Mindful Child’ by Susan Kaiser-Greenland, and ‘Sitting Still Like a Frog’ by Eline Snell. If you have your own mindfulness practice, and have been trained as a .b / Paws b teacher already, it should be fine to try a few of the key practices from these books with the younger children in your school.
The Mindfulness and Resilience in Adolescence (MYRIAD) project is a major Wellcome Trust – funded study to assess whether mindfulness training for teenagers and school staff can improve ‘resilience’ and reduce the likelihood of later development of mental health issues.The four-part study includes the first large randomised control trial of mindfulness training compared with ‘teaching as usual’ in 76 schools, which will involve nearly six thousand students aged 11 to 14. Other parts of the study include a programme of experimental research to establish whether and how mindfulness improves the mental resilience of teenagers, and an evaluation of the most effective way to train teachers to deliver mindfulness classes to students.
This is a project headed up by the Oxford University Mindfulness Centre in collaboration with the Universities of Cambridge, Exeter and University College London.
MiSP will be providing the training in how to teach the .b curriculum for the teachers involved.
All enquiries about the project should go through the OMC: http://oxfordmindfulness.org/project/myriad
MiSP are always happy to hear of people and organisations (local health or education authorities, educational trusts and academy groups etc) interested in working on a regional level to introduce mindfulness into schools. However, as a UK charity, any courses we offer need to be financially viable.It is therefore not possible to offer training solely for a specific group of people. What we can do, with a guaranteed minimum number of places paid for in advance, is offer ‘group bookings’ for people who meet the course prerequisites, but who have potentially been funded by the same organisation, e.g. a local health authority, school consortium etc.
We are keen to connect with schools, raising awareness amongst school staff of the potential benefits of mindfulness, but as a small team we don’t have the resources to offer INSET/CPD training sessions in individual schools.What we do offer though are Information Events, to support anyone interested in finding out how to bring mindfulness to their school. All welcome – pupils, teachers, school staff and governors, health care professionals, parents … anyone interested in mindfulness and young people.
International attendees and translations
As a UK charity, MiSP does not have the resources to provide professionally translated versions of our curricula.The existing translated materials have therefore been generously prepared by MiSP-trained teachers who have offered to translate the teaching materials into their own language in their free time. This means that the translated versions may not be the most recent versions of the curricula, nor will they contain all the resources found in the English language versions.
As the number of requests for translating MiSP teaching materials increase, we are having to find new ways to protect both the integrity and intellectual property of MiSP materials.
We are therefore no longer able to allow individuals to translate teaching materials for their own personal use. Instead, we request that any translations form part of a broader formal partnership agreement with MiSP.
For further information about this and any other aspect of translation work, please contact email@example.com.
Despite frequent requests, MiSP itself does not have the resources to run courses abroad as it is focussing on achieving its charitable aims in the UK. However, we have a small number of experienced partner organisations in the USA, the Netherlands, Finland, Australia, the Czech Republic and Ireland who are licensed to run our courses.These partnerships have been created over a long period of time with established mindfulness organisations. Lead trainers on these partnership courses have followed the MiSP trainer pathway, attending several training courses in the UK, and meeting the same standards required of their UK trainers. It therefore requires considerable time and financial investment to become a MiSP training partner.
If you would like to know more about our international partners, please visit the MiSP website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.