2016 Mindfulness in Education Conference
Mindfulness: Foundation for Teaching and Learning
Ninth Annual Conference
March 4 – 6, 2016
Bryn Mawr College
212 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
(All sessions will be held at M. Carey Thomas Library – Great Hall)
Conference Materials | Conference Videos
Program of Events
- PassageWorks Workshop: Introduction to the Five Dimensions of Engaged Teaching ~ Friday, March 4
- Sam Himelstein, Keynote Address ~ Friday evening, March 4
- Mindfulness in Education Symposium ~ Saturday, March 5
- A Day of Mindfulness: Alive and Awake ~ Sunday, March 6
Mindfulness meditation has encouraged open and nonjudgmental awareness for hundreds of years. Now students, teenagers, and adults are learning to pay attention to the present moment with increased curiosity, kindness, and flexibility. Research over the last ten years has started to show that mindfulness offers many benefits including increased attention and focus, lower levels of anxiety, and greater empathy. As a result, this ancient meditative practice has gained support in education, business, and sports. Many educational institutions, including UCLA, Stanford, UCSF, NYU, Brown, and Penn have also embraced mindfulness as an educational intervention by introducing it into their curricula and conducting innovative research in the field. This three-day event will explore the uses of mindfulness in education.
PassageWorks Workshop: Introduction to the Five Dimensions of Engaged Teaching
Friday, March 4, Registration: 8:30 am; Workshop: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Bryn Mawr College
Certificates of Participation will be provided
This one-day introduction to a longer course, explores the Five Dimensions of Engaged Teaching based on our book of the same title. The Five Dimensions include: cultivating an open heart, engaging the self-observer, being present, expanding emotional capacity and establishing respectful boundaries. These capacities allow us to joyfully and effectively meet the complex demands of our profession. In the workshop we engage in a selection of core practices and explore principles that support educators to develop and sustain a reflective teaching practice, manage stress, cultivate our own social and emotional intelligence, create truly inclusive classrooms and successfully collaborate with colleagues.
Rona Willensky was principal and founder of New Vista High School in Boulder, Colorado from 1992-2009. Previously, she worked as an education policy analyst for the Governor of Colorado, the Education Commission of the States, and various education reform initiatives in Colorado.
She is currently Director of Mindfulness Programs at Passageworks Institute which include SMART in Education, The Mindful Teacher course, and the Educators with Contemplative Practices network. She is actively working to develop a mindfulness in education network in Colorado. A particular area of interest is integrating diversity and cultural responsiveness work within the mindfulness movement.
is an educational advocate, writer, facilitator, and Director of Transformative Learning at the PassageWorks Institute. Laura co-authored The Five Dimensions of Engaged Teaching (Solution Tree, 2013)as well as numerous curricula for the transitions years.
She has published dozens of poems, book chapters and essays. In her twelve years with Passageworks, Laura has taught a wide variety of “engaged teaching” courses and workshops, offered presentations at schools and conferences, and facilitated transitions and rites of passage programs for young people. Laura regularly consults with school leaders to design experiential professional development programs for teachers and continues to develop innovative resources for educators and parents.
Sam Himelstein, Keynote Address “A Relational Mindfulness Pedagogy“
Friday, March 4, Registration: 7:00 pm; Keynote: 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Bryn Mawr College
As research continues to be published on the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions with youth populations, there is much to be excited about in this emerging field. While this positive, educators, therapists, and other youth workers are still left with the question of how to effectively disseminate mindfulness interventions to create meaningful experiences for the youth they work with. The simple truth is that who we are and the relational dynamics we have with our youth have a strong influence on youth engagement and outcome. In this keynote, Dr. Himelstein will discuss a Relational Mindfulness Pedagogy that encompasses strategic awareness of the development of an authentic and mindful relationship alongside the development of self-awareness of youth. Attendees can expect to walk away with a sound philosophical framework and concrete strategies to help young people live the mindful path.
Sam Himelstein, Ph.D., is passionate about working with young people. A formerly incarcerated youth himself, he now works primarily as a psychotherapist at the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center (ACJJC) where he was incarcerated as a young teen.
Sam has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications in the field of mindfulness of youth and two recent books: A Mindfulness-Based Approach to Working with High-Risk Adolescents and Mindfulness-Based Substance Abuse Treatment for Adolescents: A 12-Session Curriculum, both published by Routledge. Dr. Himelstein founded the Center for Adolescent Studies, a multidisciplinary training institute where he trains clinicians, educators, probation personnel and anyone working with adolescents wishing to sharpen their ability to connect, enrich, and make a difference in the lives of young people.
Mindfulness in Education Symposium
Saturday, March 5, Symposium: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Bryn Mawr College
Saturday Conference Schedule
8:30 am – 9:00 am Registration
9:00 am – 9:30 am Home Group Check-in
9:45 am – 11:45 am Plenary Panel Presentations & Facilitated Q&A
Bidyut Bose: “Dynamic Mindfulness for Excellence and Equity in Education”
Mindfulness is a recognized catalyst for achieving academic excellence, as well as enabling social-emotional learning. And yet substantial challenges remain in narrowing the academic achievement gap and achieving education equity throughout the US and beyond. Economic, social and political inequities result in disproportionately high chronic stress, traumatic stress and post-traumatic stress among children and youth in urban schools, impacting their learning readiness. And educators serving more vulnerable students imbibe this stress secondarily, affecting their personal sustainability and optimal professional performance. This presentation will discuss an evidence-based trauma-informed model for achieving both excellence and equity in K-12 education.
Trish Broderick: “Adolescents and Mindfulness: Why it Matters”
Adolescence is a period of opportunity for mindfulness training because of its potential impact on the developing brain. Despite likely benefits from such interventions, adolescents are underserved with regard to universal programs in schools. There are many practical challenges to bringing mindfulness into secondary education settings in a systematic way. This presentation will present some key observations from an ongoing study in a public school district. The mindfulness intervention, Learning to BREATHE, a research-supported mindfulness curriculum for adolescents and young adults, will be described briefly. Issues of sustainability within educational settings that would make mindfulness available to all students will be addressed.
Rose Sackey-Milligan: “Complexities of De-constructing Hierarchical Teaching Spaces in Higher Education”
There’s no debating that a mutually respectful teacher-student relationship enhances teaching and learning. However, given the hierarchal nature of the academy, can this relationship realistically exist? Can we hold the contradiction between the hierarchy and the understanding that learning requires the academy’s inherent power structures? Remarks on how contemplative practices might deconstruct hierarchy and impact the educator’s privilege and power is the focus. The main questions are: Is it possible to build just communities in classrooms in higher education where the hierarchical educator-student relationship is normalized? Do attempts to build just communities reinforce forms of oppression for educators and students of color in the academy? How can contemplative practices influence building spaces for teaching and learning that do not give unbalanced authority to the educator over the student? Are there circumstances where maintaining the privilege and power of the educator is crucial for effective learning and teaching?
11:45 am – 12:00 pm Home Group Check-in
12:15 pm – 1:15 pm Lunch
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Workshops
1. Mindfulness and Compassion Inside and Outside the College Classroom: Promises and Limitations (Dorothe Bach & Sandy Seidel)
This interactive session offers participants insight into current curricular and co-curricular mindfulness initiatives at the University of Virginia. Drawing on their rich experience with students, faculty and university-wide initiatives, the presenters will provide an overview of current mindfulness related innovations as well share concrete hands-on examples from their own teaching practices. Reflecting on their own institutional contexts and student populations, participants will engage in a conversation about the promises and challenges of what is happening on college campuses with a particular focus on the role of mindfulness in creating inclusive and just communities.
2. What is the connection between mindfulness and outstanding school leadership? (Valerie Brown)
As school leaders, we spend our days ‘getting things done’, moving from task to task, in a seemingly endless array of intensely time-driven projects. We are extraordinarily stressed and frequently lack resources and supports for building and nurturing our own leadership. And yet, as school leaders we know that outstanding leadership rests on focus, clarity, creativity, and connectedness—bringing our best self to our work and life. The effectiveness of mindfulness practices on cultivating these capacities has been demonstrated by numerous empirical studies. This 90-minute, practice-oriented session——based on The Mindful School Leader: Practices To Transform Your Leadership and School, co-authored with Kirsten Olson—- connects the dots between outstanding school leadership and mindfulness and explores mindfulness practices, like resilience-building pauses even during crazy-busy days, that support a more whole-hearted and engaged leader. Leave this session with essential practices, and start developing new mindfulness habits to transform your life and your school leadership.
3. Mindful Teaching Engages Diverse Learners (Wynne Kinder)
Reluctance to participate and resistance to engage are student behaviors that are constant challenges faced by teachers as we work to support diverse learners. We have brought our Wellness Works in Schools
program into public school classrooms (special education, preK-12) for more than 15 years. In response to the wide-ranging experiences and needs of our students, we have developed mindful teaching approaches for enhancing engagement, building relationships, setting boundaries, guiding behavior and meeting students where they are. We utilize mindful awareness, choice, play, rhythm, movement and rest – all especially with diverse learners also impacted by adverse childhood experiences (ACE) like prolonged stress, poverty and trauma. Workshop participants will:
- Explore approaches & activities useful with diverse ages & needs,
- Examine & practice strategies relevant to their own work,
- Create and test drive ideas for classroom (or 1 on 1) support of their students.
4. Mindful Tech: Bringing Balance to Our Online Lives (David Levy)
Today’s digital devices and apps are both powerful and powerfully distracting. Indeed it has become increasingly clear that they can serve both as instruments of learning and connection, on the one hand, and of distraction and disconnection, on the other. The challenge we face is to use them to their best advantage, and to ours, and to understand when to use them and when to abstain from them. For a number of years, through my research and teaching, I have been developing methods to help students (as well as faculty, staff, and adult professionals) investigate and improve their relationship with their devices and apps. In this workshop I will present some of the exercises and techniques I’ve created, and will talk about the pedagogical principles that underlie them.
5. Mindfulness-based Learning and Teaching-Personal and Professional Practices (Marilyn Webb Neagley & Carol Wheeler)
This workshop will begin with the importance of personal practice, including introductory information related to emerging research findings that indicate a correlation between daily mindfulness practice and the potential for reduced stress, emotional regulation and focused attention. Material will include K-12 classroom applications, based on the South Burlington (VT) School District’s nationally recognized model. This interactive workshop is ideal for anyone that is introducing mindfulness in PreK-12 educational settings.
6. Practicing What We Teach: Mindfully Teaching Mindfulness (Diane Reibel)
This workshop offers a balance of didactic content and experiential learning. The didactic material emphasizes the importance and benefits of educators having a personal mindfulness practice and offers practical ways in which to begin or deepen one’s own practice of mindfulness. There will be a discussion on various mindfulness programs for schoolteachers including current research on the effects of mindfulness training for educators. The experiential learning will include several mindfulness practices to be used by educators for their own well-being, as well as general guidelines for bringing mindfulness practices into the classroom. This workshop is designed to be interactive and there will be time for group inquiry and dialogue.
7. Using the power of imagination to develop contemplative capacities in early childhood (K-2) (Thomas Roepke)
Evelyn Underhill (1922) invites us to consider a deeper aspect of our role as teachers and parents when she writes, “ Children may, very early, be taught or rather induced to look at natural things with the quietness, attention, and delight which are the beginnings of contemplation”. This workshop explores how activities imbued with imagination can be used to nurture contemplative capacities in children. These capacities include an ability to experience wonder, reverence, gratitude, and compassion in the classroom. The importance of continually cultivating these capacities in ourselves as a foundation for working with children will be addressed. Our work together will focus on the use of children’s literature, storytelling and dramatic play in the form of an imaginary journey. This workshop will include demonstrations, participatory experiences and an ongoing collaborative conversation. Participants will be provided with descriptions of the workshop activities, references, and possibilities for continued investigation of the topic.
8. The Mindful Teen: Promoting Mindfulness and Social-Emotional Learning (Dzung Vo)
Mindfulness means “Paying attention in a particular way: On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn). The field of mindfulness-based interventions for adolescents is currently exploding. Emerging mindfulness-based interventions for youth are showing significant promise in helping adolescents to cope with adversity, and promote resilience and positive youth development. Within education, mindfulness can be a key component of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). SEL helps youth “acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions” (CASEL.org). In this interactive presentation, Dr. Vo will discuss science and practice of mindfulness-based interventions with adolescents; share practical mindfulness exercises that educators can use in their schools and personal self-care strategies; and share mindfulness resources for youth, families, and professionals.
3:15 pm – 3:45 pm Home Group Check-In
4:00 pm – 4:30 pm Symposium Closing
Bidyut Bose is the Founder and Executive Director of Niroga Institute (www.niroga.org), which brings Dynamic Mindfulness practices (integrating yoga, breath regulation and meditation) annually to hundreds of educators and mental health professionals, as well as thousands of students in schools and alternative schools, nationally and internationally.
Having learned yoga and meditation since he was a child, and with a PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley, his current research interests include the neurobiology and epigenetics of traumatic stress, strategies for positive child and youth development, and the development of cost-effective architectures for lasting social transformation.
Patricia (Trish) Broderick is a research associate at the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center at Penn State University. She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling from Villanova University and a Ph.D. in School Psychology from Temple University.
She is a licensed clinical psychologist, certified school psychologist (K-12), certified school counselor (K-12), and a graduate of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) advanced practicum at the Center for Mindfulness at UMASS. She is part of a PSU research team on a US Dept. of Education-sponsored study on mindfulness in public schools and an advisory board member for CASEL on the intersection of social and emotional learning and mindfulness. She is the co-author of the developmental psychology textbook, The Life Span: Human Development for Helping Professionals, Fourth Edition (Broderick & Blewitt, 2014, Pearson) and the author of Learning to BREATHE: A Mindfulness Curriculum for Adolescents (2013, New Harbinger).
Rose Sackey-Milligan Ph.D. is a socio-cultural anthropologist, Program Officer and State Coordinator of various foundation-sponsored programs at the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. She acquired thirteen years’ experience in social change philanthropy as the former Director of Programs at the Peace Development Fund.
As Director of the Social Justice Program at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
and in association with cambio-Integral, Inc., she organized opportunities in workshop and retreat settings for grassroots social change community leaders to consider the qualities of a transformative leader and how it may be realized through contemplative practices. Rose received priesthood ordination into the Afro-Cuban Yorùbá-derived Lùkùmí faith in 1997, an African traditional religion which she has studied and practiced for over 20 years.
Dorothe Bach PhD is an Associate Professor and Associate Director at the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Virginia. Over the past 13 years, she has consulted with hundreds of individual instructors and designed and facilitated numerous multi-day workshops and year-long learning communities on a variety of teaching topics. With a seed grant from the Association of Contemplative Mind in Higher Education she initiated the contemplative pedagogy program to support instructors in integrating contemplative practices into their teaching.
Her undergraduate courses include “Spiritual Journeys in Young Adult Fiction” and “Mindfulness and Compassion: Living Fully Personally and Professionally.” Dorothe has published articles and book chapters on early and mid-career faculty development, learning portfolios, using scholarly online communities to empower students, creating classroom community with reflective blogs, and contemplative approaches to reading and writing.
Valerie Brown, JD, MA, ACC is a consultant, leadership coach, popular retreat leader, writer, and Principal of Lead Smart Coaching, LLC, (www.leadsmartcoaching.com) specializing in mindfulness training for educators and others.
She has practiced mindfulness in the Plum Village tradition since 1995 and in 2003 she was ordained in the Tiep Hien Order by Thich Nhat Hanh. Her latest book, The Mindful School Leader: Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School (Corwin Press 2015), supports greater peace and understanding within schools.
Wynne Kinder’s, B.A. Ed., has taught for 28 years in private and public schools, including 11 years bring mindfulness into special education (autistic & emotional support) and alternative education (including incarceration) settings. As a partner in Kinder Associates LLC and their lead instructor for Wellness Works in Schools™ (preK-12 classrooms & teacher training), she creates programming and teaching tools to: address diverse student needs, build relationships, engage participation, and guide behavior.
Her work is informed by training with: the Mindfulness-based Mind Fitness Institute, the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute, and Eastern Mennonite University – pursuing a master of education (working with at-risk populations), 2016. She holds a PA teaching certificate (k-6) and a B.A. Ed. from Alma College, MI. Other endeavors include: a mindfulness in special education chapter in “Teaching Mindfulness Skills to Kids and Teens” (2015), digital (mindful – FLOW) brain breaks through www.GoNoodle.com, and audio practices for www.MindfullyADD.com
David M. Levy (dmlevy.ischool.uw.edu) is Professor at the Information School, University of Washington in Seattle. He earned his PhD in computer science at Stanford University and a diploma in Calligraphy and Bookbinding from the Roehampton Institute in London.
For nearly twenty years he was a researcher at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, exploring the transition from paper and print to digital media. At the University of Washington since 2000, he has focused on bringing mindfulness training and other contemplative practices to address problems of information overload and acceleration. His new book, “Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives,” has just been published by Yale University Press.
Diane Reibel, PhD. is the Director of the Mindfulness Institute at the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine. She is also the founding Director of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program which began in 1996.
Dr. Reibel has been teaching mindfulness –based stress reduction for over 20 years to patients, medical and college students, school teachers/administrators and healthcare professionals. She currently runs a Practicum for Professionals who want to integrate mindfulness into their work and offers workshops, supervision and internships in MBSR for professionals. In addition to her passion for teaching mindfulness she studies the physiologic effects and health outcomes of mindfulness training and her research is published and widely cited in both scientific journals and the popular press. Diane is coauthor of the book Teaching Mindfulness: A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Educators.
Tom Roepke began teaching in 1981 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BS in Education. He is currently in his 18th year as a literacy intervention teacher at PS 112, an early childhood public school in East Harlem- New York City. His role in the school expanded over the years to include supporting teachers and children in the use of contemplative practices in the classroom.
Tom is also a certified Waldorf educator and taught a class of children from First through Seventh Grade at the Rudolf Steiner School in NYC from 1990-1997. He earned a masters in special education from Hunter College in 1998 and was certified as Reading Recovery teacher in 2000. His interests include exploring the role of imagination, intuition, and love in education.
Sandy Seidel PhD serves as an Assistant Dean, Associate Professor, and the Director of Studies at the International Residential College (IRC) at the University of Virginia. Sandy incorporates contemplative practices into her courses “Human Biology and Disease” and the freshman advising seminar “What Makes Us Tick?”
She also teaches the course “Mindfulness Practices” in a residence hall at the IRC. Sandy’s practices of meditation, yoga and chanting inform her advising, teaching, and work with co-curricular student groups including the Bhakti Yoga Club and Active Minds. She is grateful for the support of the Contemplative Sciences Center at UVA, particularly her colleagues in the Contemplative Pedagogy Working Group.
Dzung X. Vo MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at British Columbia Children’s Hospital, and clinical assistant professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Vancouver, Canada. His medical practice, teaching, and research emphasize promoting resilience in young people to help them thrive in the face of stress and adversity.
He co-developed (with Dr. Jake Locke at BC Children’s Hospital) a mindfulness training program called MARS-A, or Mindful Awareness and Resilience Skills for Adolescents. Dr. Vo is the author of The Mindful Teen: Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time. Dr. Vo also serves on the Board of Directors for the BC Association for Living Mindfully (BCALM) and the Mindfulness in Education Network (MiEN). All trees have roots, and Dr. Vo’s root mindfulness teacher is the Vietnamese Zen Master, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and author, Thich Nhat Hanh. Dr. Vo hopes to share the benefits of mindfulness to diverse youth in a universal, secular way that is appropriate for anyone, of any religion, or no religion at all. Learn more about Dr. Vo’s work at mindfulnessforteens.com
Marilyn Webb Neagley is the Director of Talk About Wellness, mindfulness instructor, co-author of Mindfulness in Public Schools manual, co-editor of Educating from the Heart, and course coordinator for Mindfulness-based Learning and Teaching.
Carol Wheeler, B.S., M.Ed., C.A.S., is a National Board Certified School Counselor with 35 years in the field, serving college, high school and elementary school levels. She is a member of the South Burlington (VT) School District Mindfulness Planning Team, developed “Mini Mindful Moments”, and demonstrates mindfulness-based classroom interventions.
A Day of Mindfulness: Alive and Awake
Sunday, March 6, Registration: 8:30am; Full-day workshop: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Bryn Mawr College
Come join us for a day of nourishing silence, mindful awareness practices and reflection. Develop your capacity to be fully alive, to rest in your present moment experience with openness and kindness. You will be guided through a variety of mindful awareness practices including sitting and walking meditation, mindful eating, and mindful movement. There will be meditations for cultivating sensory clarity, focus, loving- kindness and compassion. This day is for beginners as well as those with prior meditation experience.
“Only the day dawns to which you are awake.” Henry David Thoreau
Irene McHenry, PhD, is a psychologist, consultant, writer, keynote speaker, and co-author of The Autism Playbook for Teens (2014) and Tuning In: Mindfulness in Teaching and Learning (2009).
She consults with organizations nationwide providing professional development and teaching mindfulness for administrators, faculty, trustees and aspiring leaders. Irene co-founded a Friends elementary school and a high school for teens with learning differences. She initiated the founding of the Friends Council’s SPARC program based on Parker Palmer’s teacher formation principles and was a founding faculty member for Fielding Graduate Institute’s doctoral program in education. She recently retired from Friends Council on Education where she served as Executive Director.
Richard Brady, MS, is a writer, an educational consultant (www.mindingyourlife.net), and co-founder of the Mindfulness in Education Network.
Richard’s publications include: Tuning In: Mindfulness in Teaching and Learning, McHenry and Brady, eds., 2009, Friends Council on Education, Philadelphia and “Learning to Stop, Stopping to Learn: Discovering the Contemplative Dimension in Education,” Journal of Transformative Education, 5, no.4, (2007): 372-394. Richard taught high school mathematics at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC for 34 years before retiring in 2007.
Mindfulness in Education Network, Bryn Mawr College, Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, Association for Mindfulness in Education, Friends Council on Education, and Greater Good Science Center
This program is offered in conjunction with Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. As a CSWE accredited program, the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research is a pre-approved provider of continuing education for social workers, professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists in Pennsylvania and many other states.
Act 48 CE credits are available for PA Department of Education certified educators and specialists.