Mindfulness Based Wellbeing for PE Teachers

Amy Burke spent 15 years in high schools as a classroom teacher and guidance counselor in Canada and The Netherlands before relocating to Prague in 2013. She holds a Masters Degree in Contemplative Education from Naropa University and her work is centered around helping young adults, and those who teach them, create lives of meaning and purpose. Amy is a lead teacher trainer with the Mindfulness in Schools Project (.b” for teenagers) and has also completed mindfulness curriculum training with Dr. Saltzman (Still Quiet Place) and Gina Biegel (MBSR-T). In 2012 Amy co-founded MindWell whose aim is to support educational communities in developing Mindfulness Based Wellbeing. She is an educational consultant who works internationally offering workshops, courses and retreats for educators and students.

Kevin Hawkins has worked with adolescents in various contexts for over 30 years - as teacher, school head, and social worker in the UK, Africa, and Europe. Until recently, and for the past 10 years, he was Middle School Principal at the International School of Prague in the Czech Republic. Kevin has taught mindfulness to teenagers, teachers and parents since 2008. He is an Adviser to the Mindfulness in Schools Project as well as one of their lead teacher trainers. In 2012 he co-founded MindWell, which supports educational communities in developing wellbeing through mindfulness and social-emotional learning. Kevin also works independently as a school consultant and trainer. His book for teachers on Mindfulness in Education will be published by SAGE in summer 2017.

Schools around the world are increasingly focusing on the wellbeing of their students and teachers. Against a background of rising depression and anxiety, and in particular amidst concerns around mental health issues facing young people, many educational organisations are considering how best to promote positive mental health and social-emotional learning (SEL).

Key to the successful development of wellbeing in schools is recognition of the importance of self-awareness and self-care for teachers. Drawing on current research, especially in social neuroscience and its applications to education, we will consider how mindfulness can promote teacher self-care and enhance our sensitivities in teaching. We will explore applications of mindful awareness training in stress management and we will focus on deepening our understanding of stress with experiential exercises that will personalize this learning.

Participants will experience for themselves examples of mindfulness approaches and programs that are being used effectively in schools and we will take a look at how some sports psychologists are incorporating mindful awareness training in their work with professional athletes as well as how some PE teachers and school coaches who have mindfulness training are taking a similar approach with their students to help develop concentration, and teamwork capacities.