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Med in school

Can compassion meditation benefit school teachers?

Scientific evidence that mindfulness produces demonstrable effects on well-being and health is well established.(1) Mindfulness classes are offered in many different contexts, to healthcare professionals, secondary school students or patients suffering from depression.(2) There is now also a significant body of research showing that mindfulness-based methods to develop empathy lead to a decrease in the biological markers of stress. (3)(4) Participants found they had greater compassion for themselves and for others after just two weeks of applying the techniques.(5) Happier teachers means happier students. An article in next month's Review of Educational Research corroborates existing studies on how teacher empathy improves student's engagement and achievement.(6)

For the first time in Europe, these tools will be offered specifically to school teachers. Christine Longaker, who has 30 years of experience in training healthcare professionals and social workers, including in mindfulness and empathy, explains: “These tools have benefited healthcare professionals for many years and now it is time to share them specifically with educators. Just like healthcare, teaching is a very noble, but stressful, profession. When teachers learn how to apply mindfulness and compassion toward themselves, they will experience more fulfilment in life and satisfaction at work.” (7)

  1. See for example Richard J. Davidson, PhD, Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, et al (2002), Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation.

  2. Organisations offering mindfulness in the UK include the Mental Heath Foundation http://www.bemindful.co.uk/ and the Mindfulness in Schools Project http://www.mindfulnessinschools.org/

  3. James Doty, Director of the Stanford University Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education wrote in the Washington Post on 26 March 2011: “In a number of studies using a variety of psychological and biological measures and neuroimaging techniques, compassion not only stimulates one’s pleasure or reward centers but also leads to a decrease in biological markers of stress and an increase in indices of adaptive immune function. So what’s not to like about being compassionate? It improves survival of the species, leads to happiness and results in improved health.”

  4. http://www.emoryhealthsciblog.com/?tag=geshe-lobsang-tenzin-negi

  5. http://positivepsychologynews.com/news/kathryn-britton/2011101119494

  6. Debora L. Roorda et al, The Influence of Affective Teacher–Student Relationships on Students’ School Engagement and Achievement: A Meta-Analytic Approach, in Review of Educational Research, December 2011.

  7. http://www.spcare.org/ and www.mind-with-heart.blogspot.com/p/breaks-for-teachers.html


0 # Chris 2011-12-07 14:26
Thanks for sharing yours thoughts and all the links for furthing reading!
I think the suggestion of C.Longaker to apply mindfulness and compassion toward oneself (and to others) can really make a difference...
And it's quite practical. Everybody can start, where he is.
And actually it's a nice thing - to have compassion towards oneself!
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0 # Matt Basil 2011-12-18 20:45
Meditation clears the impediments and obstacles of a mind and allows to capture things with greater perfection. For every man and woman it can offer a great help. Teachers deal with a lot of mental pressure, so for them, i think, meditation can be a best nurse for own mind. It was really nice to read this article. Inner peace can be a medicine of mind which may lead to success and smooth life. Thanks for sharing as I think I have got some inspiration from this article. 7 chakras Meditation
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0 # Enrique 2011-12-23 14:39

Everyday my wife and I deal with the pressure of having kids in school, a rather demanding one.

As this school they go is recognized as a high level one, and they aim to be open, I have sent this you sent to the director. She is a nice, straight , woman who has been in front for 20 years. This is a private school, but have been built and runs on the tuition, benefits have been reinvested since the beginning. It somehow belongs to the families.

Though....there is a very important line to cross to begin to believe that it is not only " mind turn outwardly ", but that there is a whole world, actually the real one, in " mind turn inwardly".

Merry Christmas,

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0 # Vinciane Rycroft 2011-12-26 12:53
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.

Slowly a new movement for contemplation in education is emerging. On April 25–26, there is an important event on this very topic of Contemplative Education. See contemplativeresearch.org/

Wishing you a peaceful end of year!
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