Mindful Teachers Training Program (MTTP)
“A teacher is never a giver of truth; he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for himself.”
What Is Mindfulness Training for Teachers?
Over the past decade, training in mindfulness – the intentional cultivation of moment-by-moment non-judgmental focused attention and awareness – has spread to education.
Mindful Kids Miami’s Mindfulness Training for Educators program was developed after extensive study, practice and experience. This two-phase, 16-week program offers training to teachers in both public and private schools, from pre-K through the 12th grade. Mindful Kids Miami approach emphasizes actually practicing mindfulness or being mindful rather than only studying.
Training is in two phases:
First Phase: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program is an 8-week comprehensive, experiential, and internationally recognized program developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, now professor emeritus of medicine at the UMass Medical Center. MBSR is a pre-requisite for the Mindful Teachers Training Program.
Second Phase – Mindful Teachers Training Program (MTTP): is an 8-week fun and experiential training for educators preparing them to teach age-appropriate mindfulness practices, games, activities, and skills based on social-emotional learning. These methods train children and youth to pay attention, strengthen focus, increase impulse control, regulate behavior, and cultivate tolerance, compassion and empathy for themselves and others. The second phase of the training is when teachers experience for themselves how mindful awareness can be taught to students in age-appropriate, child-friendly ways. This program equips them with skills to create experiential learning in their own classrooms whether they are teaching Pre-K or high school seniors.
The Mindful Teachers Training Program consists of the following modules:
- Mindful Movement brings children into an awareness of their bodies and changing physical sensations as they move through various poses which take them out of automatic pilot; it also teaches awareness of breathing.
- Mindful Games & Activities teach children how to pay attention and increase focus while cultivating self-awareness and awareness of others.
- Mindful Relaxation practices increase self-awareness and offer an opportunity for the body and mind to experience a relaxed state.
- Kindness Practices increase compassion and empathy in children both for themselves and others, leading to an increased understanding of differences as well as a sense of connection with themselves, others, and the world around them.
Each MTTP program includes:
- 2.5 hour classes for 8-weeks
- Other materials to support practice
“The Mindfulness Program taught me how to be aware and connect to the present moment in my daily activities. It also taught me how to be more compassionate with others and reduced my stress level.”
“I just want to thank you for thinking about a way to help teachers be better teachers!! Thank you for finding a way to help children. We live with so much stress that we forget about our little ones and the effect of our stress on them.”
“I believe that there are immense benefits to teachers in the mindfulness program. It should be a required training for all teachers. The ability to calm yourself during stressful moments is of immeasurable benefit. The tools acquired are essential to a teacher’s toolbox!”
“ I am so grateful for this program. I have been afforded the opportunity to not only practice mindful activities myself, but to bring it to my classroom. As the teacher of gifted fourth graders, I have witnessed the stress they put upon themselves to be perfect. Yet when I introduce the mindfulness activities with them, I notice a sense of calmness, even during the FSA testing. One student even completed a mindfulness activity by himself during the test. Daily they ask for different mindfulness activities by name. “
“The Mindfulness Program taught me how to breathe easier, walk lighter and think clearer. I will take what I have learned and share it with my loved ones, my students, and anyone who wants to live mindfully.”
Why Mindfulness Training for Teachers Is Important
Mindfulness cultivates habits of mind by deploying attention and awareness in the present moment in a nonreactive and nonjudgmental manner. Why are habits of mind necessary for effective teaching? Effective teaching requires habits of mind associated with mental flexibility, emotion regulation, and relationship management skills (Helsing, 2007; Schutz & Zembylas, 2009; Zapf, 2002). By cultivating the habit of being flexibly attentive, teachers may be better able to respond to students’ needs proactively, a key contributor to effective classroom management (Marzano, Marzono, & Pickering, 2003). In addition, teachers must problem solve “on the fly” as they interact with students of varying levels of maturity and readiness to learn. To do this in a manner that avoids unequal treatment and opportunities to learn among students with different backgrounds requires great awareness, empathy, and mental flexibility (Chang, 2009). Emotion regulation is especially important because if teachers become overly stressed in the classroom, they cannot leave in order to compose themselves but must self-regulate in the presence of the class and the stress itself, such as a student’s disruptive behavior (Roeser et al., 2012).
“This program has changed my life and the lives of my students. We now begin each class breathing and doing mindfulness movements. I have definitely noticed more calmness within the class.”
“After attending the MTTP program, I feel I can better help my students. The program allowed me to realize that I must first be mindful with myself; my mindfulness allows me to help others become more mindful, if they choose that direction. As a teacher, I try to get all children to reach a goal I’ve set. This program helps me see that each person has different capacities for what signifies success.”
“Although I’ve had a prayer and meditation practice, I learned about mindfulness through the Mindfulness Immersion Program with Zayda Vallejo. The experience led me to continue immediately with the MTTP. Mindful practice has increased my self-awareness. As a teacher I have grown to notice things that bother me – whether it is about my students’ behaviors or lack thereof or that of adults. My increased mindful practice has allowed me to practice greater compassion, acceptance, trusting emergence, and increased my trust in me. Seeing my students grow through their inquiry participation has been a great bonus. Though challenging to “Let Go and Let Be” the mindful practice with my students have enabled all of us to grow in awareness… together. And that is beautiful to see.”
“I feel truly blessed to have been able to participate in this program from the moment I walked through the door everything in me would just stop and slow down. I have discovered how to trust myself more. I tend to be the most judgmental with myself and I have learned to be kinder to me. I have discovered that I can truly let go and let be. I know I have to practice more and be more consistent. This has been a great experience and I am so grateful I did it.”
“Mindfulness should be a class required for all teachers! As teachers, we give so much all day, we need these tools to also give to ourselves what we give to others go generously. This class has awoken me to live my life with compassion, acceptance and no judgement.”
Discounted rates apply for Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) Educators plus receive 20 Master Plan Points. Since inception, Mindful Kids Miami has taught our mindfulness programs to almost 1,000 educators within Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS). Read more…
What Teachers Are Saying
“Loving kindness or sending friendly wishes is the most meaningful mindfulness practice that I have implemented in my classroom. Because of the very low language abilities of the students in my class we have simplified the wishes as follows:
May I be happy.
May I be safe.
May I be healthy.
May I be loved.
We also send these same wishes to others substituting the word ‘you for ‘I.’ We have the friendly wishes printed with accompanying photos of the children in a happy, safe, healthy or loved ‘pose’ and have done several activities in which we have cut out the words to complete a fill-in-the-blank sheet and glued their photos to the sheet. The activities are posted so that the children can refer to them during the day. At various points of the day, sometimes at breakfast, sometimes at circle, lining up to go to the playground, or whenever there is a transition, we send friendly wishes to ourselves and others. The children have begun to use the wishes spontaneously during the day. In situations where in the past a student may have been told, ‘No hitting,’ the alternative ‘May you be safe’ is often enough of a reminder to prevent the aggressive behavior from occurring.
Recently one of the students became upset and started crying about a family situation. The other children embraced him in a group hug and wished him ‘love.’ While that hug will not change the discord at home, I’m hopeful that the love he receives from his friends will help him to cope with his sadness. Practicing loving kindness has truly transformed my classroom and my teaching.”
“The training was a wonderful experience. I had read about Mindfulness, but going through the actual experience was life enhancing beyond all expectations.”
“I have found the MKM’s mindfulness training to be life-altering. I wish I had incorporated it into my life and work long ago! After completing the 9-week MBSR Program, I experienced a sense of equanimity that became obvious to me and to other people I came in contact with. As a cancer survivor, my oncologist noted on a recent visit my change in attitude, body language and sense of calm. I believe that mindfulness brings benefits to everyone who practices it. It is a simple solution to the complexity of daily life. . . . I have been a teacher for more than 30years. The MTT has been an exceptional opportunity to gain useful, fun and meaningful skills that I can use with my students.”
“Bringing mindfulness into my classroom has had a positive impact on my students. More teachers need this training.”
“My participation in the Mindful Kids Miami training was a win-win situation. The activities learnt have and no doubt will continue to benefit my class who are developing an awareness of themselves. This has been really cool to watch in my kindergarteners. For myself, the program has been a “reset” for my own practice. I feel back on track again and it is WONDERFUL.”
“After 25 years of teaching, I know that if you can’t transform yourself, you can’t transform your classroom. It’s like a ballet dancer attempting a difficult turn without “centering” herself. If your teaching is an extension of compassion, precision, and wisdom (which are fruits of these practices), it will manifest in everything you do. You will also become a model for your students, so you won’t have to spend too much time “teaching” them these qualities.”
“This is an excellent opportunity to participate in a unique research-based program designed to enhance different aspect of emotional development in children. It has positively impacted my own personal life as well as that of others (teachers and students) by creating a positive, tolerant and compassionate atmosphere in the schools where it is being implemented.”
“This new sense of slowing down, being in the present, taking it all in, and riding the waves of life, have helped me grow, personally and professionally.”