Professional Development: Mindfulness in Education

School Programs launched its first Election Day open-enrollment Professional Development Workshop for K-12 educators on Tuesday, November 8, 2011. Our theme was Mindfulness in Education. Our goal was to offer teachers a chance to experience mindfulness for themselves, as well as to consider ways of incorporating aspects of it into their classroom practice.

This workshop offered teachers of all levels the opportunity to explore thoughtful ways to adapt museum education strategies using the Rubin Museum of Art’s unparalleled collection of Himalayan art. Teachers seemed excited to experience and discuss these techniques, and connected some to the new Common Core State Standards.

We focused on teaching methodologies like storytelling and physical embodiment, as well as curricular connections like cultural diffusion and symbolism.

Our themes included strategies for fostering 21st Century skills such as critical thinking, visual literacy, and collaboration skills.

After exploring the galleries both as a group and individually, teachers broke up into small teams to apply what they had learned about traditional Buddhist visual art to the construction of collaborative 3-D mandalas using a variety of non-traditional materials.

We wrapped up the day with a thoughtful discussion of the roles that mindfulness had played in the workshop, and ideas for future applications in schools. We’ll be sending out an online evaluation to all 23 participating teachers soon, and we’re looking forward to getting their ideas and suggestions on how to make future professional development experiences even stronger.

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