Tag Archives: Linda Lantieri

Social Emotional Learning and Mindfulness-based Contemplative Practices in Education: A Meditation from the Field

 by Linda Lantieri and Madhavi Nambiar

Mr. Gray, an educator in his second year of teaching in New York City wrote out his resignation letter and left it on his desk. As a final measure, he chose to attend a Renewal and Restoration Retreat for Educators provided by The Inner Resilience Program – a nonprofit organization started right after September 11, 2001 to help teachers in Lower Manhattan begin to heal and recover from the tragic events of that day. He felt he had nothing to lose. “I was so tired of trying to balance the pressures I was feeling, I wanted to quit. After the retreat I went home and ripped up the resignation letter sitting on my desk. I found that place in me that knows why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place.”

What allows an educator to stay strong, creative and connected to purpose amidst adversity while another to burn out and leave the field of education altogether? What inner resources do students, teachers and administrators draw upon in order to respond to moments of profound crisis and uncertainty in schools? Are schools preparing our children for a life of tests or the tests of life? For more than a decade, these are the questions the Inner Resilience Program has been grappling with. Mr. Gray, one of many educators in this country was teetering on the edge of burnout and happened to attend one of our retreats at the right time for him. But every day several gifted teachers leave the field of education due to the immense stresses they face. In fact, the modal year of experience in the American teaching force today is only one year – and the average years of experience have dropped by over 30% in the last decade.

The Inner Resilience Program is a research based social emotional learning program dedicated to the mission of cultivating the inner lives of students, teachers and schools by integrating social and emotional learning (SEL) with mindfulness-based contemplative practice. At its core, IRP programs provide the necessary tools for educators, parents and students to balance their inner and outer lives. By recognizing the role chronic stress plays in the lives of educators and their students, IRP focusses first on the adults in the lives of our children, and then on the children themselves.

At the cutting edge of the field of SEL is the emerging recognition that the components of social emotional learning when integrated with contemplative educational experiences are powerful. SEL competences such as self-awareness when integrated with mindfulness-based contemplative practice can take on a new depth of inner exploration, managing emotions becomes self-discipline and empathy becomes the basis for altruism caring and compassion. This integration not only gives teachers and students an opportunity to slow down enough to pay attention to their inner lives but also gives them pedagogical tools to cultivate skills that foster calm and resilience making them better teachers and students in the classroom. The benefits of regular practice can and often include increased self-awareness and self-understanding, greater ability to relax the body and release physical tension, improved concentration and the ability to cope with stressful situations in a more relaxed way improving communication between adults and children.

So it comes as no surprise that last week, mid-afternoon when a student in Mrs. Evelyn Fisher’s kindergarten class at Williamson Elementary School in Ohio walked quietly over to the peace corner and began to cry, within seconds she was surrounded by five other students. With gentle pats on her back, they coached her: “Breathe in, breathe out.” As a minute passed, a teacher walked over to them. “We got this…” said one of the students. Another minute passed, the student returned to her desk, her distress evaporated. “They didn’t need our help,” observed Martha King, a school counselor at Williamson and liaison for the Youngstown School District’s Skills for Life program, which was introduced last year as a collaborative effort between the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility and The Inner Resilience Program, “Because of this program, they have been given tools that they can use to help them to relax.”

With such practical tools and the necessary space for educators to renew their own connection to their vocation, IRP holds the vision that schools can be active, engaged and supportive learning communities that help inspire our young people so that they have every resource they need in order to become contributors to a just, peaceful and sustainable world.

Linda Lantieri, MA, Director, The Inner Resilience Program – Tides Center, and author of Building Emotional Intellegence will be presenting the Keynote Presentation Sunday February 3, 2013 , at our Bridging the Hearts & Minds of Youth Conference.

Cultivating the Inner Lives of Students and Teachers

Is it possible for schools to nurture the hearts and spirits of students without violating the beliefs of families or the separation of church and state? Many courageous educators are beginning to acknowledge that cultivating the inner lives of children can become an integral part of a child’s regular school experience. Using principles derived from modern brain research, this presentation explores how the adults in children’s lives can cultivate the habits of mind, body, and heart it will take to continually relieve the pressure that modern children face. It focuses on strengthening social and emotional capacities by equipping both adults and young people with some form of regular contemplative practice that can help them manage emotions, increase compassion, and instill stillness. The presentation: • Identifies the possibilities and practicalities of building a bridge between the inner life of mind and spirit and the outer life of secular education. • Discusses the many pathways that support the creation of “Schools with Spirit.” • Identifies self-care tools and reflective approaches for caring for ourselves and our children.

Madhavi Nambiar, MA, Deputy Director of Programs, The Inner Resilience Program Madhavi is one of the cofounders of The Inner Resilience Program and in its early years assisted in all aspects of program coordination and delivery.

Advancing & Growing the Work We Hold So Dear

(With this post we welcome the subscribers from our former Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth conference blog site.  All future posts regarding the conference will be easily recognized as they will contain the Bridging badge pictured here. We recognize that all the fields our work touches are best served with one unified presence, and this blog is intended to be that place.)

A Message From Allan Goldstein
Associate Director
UCSD Center for Mindfulness

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

When I first read Daniel Goleman’s call in Emotional Intelligence for mindfulness to be taught in schools I could not have imagined that I would be sending a personal message asking for your support for a conference that brings together the wonderful growing community of people now engaged in that work.

For the second year, many of those key people will gather in San Diego, CA at the Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth: Mindfulness in Clinical Practice, Education and Research conference to learn, collaborate, and move this work forward. I would like to first invite you to join us in sunny San Diego and secondly, if this is not your field of work, to help us spread the word to the clinicians, educators and researchers that you know in the field.

We are thrilled, humbled, and grateful, that among our exemplary panel of presenters that includes keynote presentations by Linda Lantieri, Margaret Cullen and Tish Jennings, Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn will be presenting a workshop on “Mindful Parenting: Nurturing our Children, Growing Ourselves.” Jon will also be giving a special public benefit lecture for the UCSD Center for Mindfulness entitled, “Befriending Your Mind, Befriending Your Life:  Mindfulness and the Endless Adventure of Growing into Yourself.” The conference includes several research symposia, a poster session, and numerous breakout sessions. There are also optional pre-and post- conference workshops to choose from. Please view the full conference agenda on our website. Continuing Education credits for physicians, psychologists, therapists and educators will be available.

By all accounts our inaugural conference last February was an inspiring ground-breaking event. Now is the time to become part of our “Bridging” community for the benefit of all youth, now and for future generations. We hope you can join us and help us spread our reach to your colleagues and friends.