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The Way of Mindful Education | BY: DANIEL RECHTSCHAFFEN
There is a great mindfulness in education movement underway. As you read these words students from Rwanda, to Israel, to Jamaica, and throughout the US and Canada are exercising their attention muscles, they are opening their hearts to gratitude and forgiveness, they are learning to relax and to love themselves. Meanwhile teachers are getting the inner resources they so desperately need, learning self-compassion, stress-relief, and invaluable lessons to teach their students. They are gaining the inner calm and compassionate attention that can make teaching the passionate profession that originally inspired them. This movement begins within each of our hearts and can transform the entire world.
Students are told to pay attention a thousand times in school, but rarely are they taught how. We tell our kids to be nice to each other again and again without ever teaching them the incredibly accessible exercises that cultivate empathy and forgiveness. We tell students not to be so reactive and even put them in juvenile detention centers all because they can't regulate the disturbances within their own bodies. All the while, there are methods for teaching impulse control, attention, and empathy, but youth have rarely been taught them. Mindfulness has been effectively training these qualities for millennia, and there is a mounting research base that backs up its immense health benefits.
About the Author
Daniel Rechtschaffen, Marriage and Family Therapist, is the author of The Way of Mindful Education: Cultivating Well-Being in Teachers and Students. He founded the Mindful Education Institute and the Omega Mindfulness in Education conference. He leads mindfulness in education trainings and conferences at institutions such as the Omega Institute, Esalen, and California Institute of Integral Studies. He has helped create curriculum for organizations such as Mindfulness Without Borders, Mindful Schools, and The Mindful Mothering Project. Daniel leads mindfulness trainings for schools and communities around the world, such as the South Burlington School District, The Paideia School in Atlanta, and Phucket International Academy in Thailand. He has had amazing results teaching mindfulness to high-school basketball and baseball teams. Daniel also has a private psychotherapy practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.