Mindfulness Teacher Training – weeks 1,2&3

I’m in the midst of a training course where we are taught fundamental teaching methods in transmitting the curriculum to young people, particularly at-risk and in under resourced schools.
Here are my responses to weekly writing assignments.
Enjoy!

WEEK 1: What is Mindfulness talk. Please share your experience describing “What is Mindfulness” to another person.

What went well?

I asked my girlfriend and then her mom to participate. So initially, just their eager acceptance to help went well. I said “I have some homework, and if I could bug you for 5 minutes or so (gf in the middle of schoolwork herself) I need to describe what mindfulness is to you”. Also indicated that this talk would likely be geared toward the gatekeeper (stakeholder) of the potential student. (GF is a biochemist, mom an HR head).

I really liked, and used the analogy of learning how to balance a checkbook or work in the kitchen. Also, when improving concentration came up – so did the eyebrows.

What was challenging?

Oddly, getting through a quick bout of nerves in just asking to present. The first few words out of the gate felt like I might be selling something.

What questions came up?

Is it a way of thinking? (condensed: “it’s a way of knowing that you’re thinking and how”)

Do I slow down my thoughts? (condensed: “not necessarily but you might find with practice that you can slow down your unwanted reactions”)

Will they (kids) have to sit still for a long time? (condensed: any amount of awareness is a great start, so no, of course not, I’d like to make it fun and interesting. Best scenario; short periods of awareness many times)

WEEK 2:
Assignment 1 (Mindful Teaching)
Share what you observed when you brought this practice into your teachings and/or relationships
Assignment 2 (Teaching the Curriculum)
Share how your teaching experience was with the lesson you chose.


1. I practiced curiosity. Knowing that I have a tendency, at times to develop a response before I have totally heard the other person, this an area needing improvement. I enjoyed observing the thought process of the student or the tendency to just mindlessly blurt out anything. In being patient with this, I better managed to come back with an appropriate response either way.

2. For this I had 2 subjects and practiced both curriculums as an outside provider. I use a voice recorder and play it back to evaluate myself.
a. Things went better in general, when I was well off script and being total authentic (go figure) and involving call and response type questions.
b. Getting started, getting the first few phrases and descriptions out of the way while being solid and confident while remaining open and friendly. Like jumping onto a tightrope, takes some quick adjustments to get balanced.
c. My subjects were good, challenging me a bit. When asking the mock 2nd graders if it was easy or hard, one said “really hard” which gave me a chance to bargain with trying your best and encouraging. The mock high school kids offered a disengaged student, prompting me to bring in some relevance.
Great assignment! I really had a good time learning my ability and boundaries. For a guy who used to love to be on stage, I can’t believe how nervous I get in front of two people who love me.

WEEK 3: Assignment 1 (Explaining Mindfulness in Education)

I chose assignment 1 within the area of explaining the growth of secular mindfulness over the last 30+ years, which naturally spilled into the context of education (where I curtailed the conversation).

What went well was my authenticity of enthusiasm in discussing the subject and it’s history. Being currently enrolled in the UMass MBSR program I had a platform to stand on. This may have been a contributor to a challenge; that of not over-stating. Being comfortable in the balance of “we know it works, but don’t have the hard-proof validation to show it” scenario. I would also need more practical repetition to auto-recall the names and dates of studies, etc. that are helpful to bolster a point.

A question that came up was simply; “Where did you get all this information? Is it compiled somewhere?” I managed to over-complicate the answer at first. Repeating myself, struggling to recall research data, siting J.K-Z’s “Full Catastrophe Living”, when it occurred to me the answer was as simple as the question. “This info was all compiled in a lecture by Chris McKenna, one of my teachers at Mindful Schools out of Berkeley, California. I’m currently a student of their Curriculum Training Course”.

A reminder to always ‘start where I am’.

QUESTION:

How did the influx of psycho-pharmaceutical drugs effect (or hinder) the progression of MBIs in clinical settings? Was this a factor in its branching out to educational and corporate realms?