Mindful ELT is about bringing the practice of mindfulness into our lives as teachers and adult learners of English, with a focus on stress management, happiness and well-being, enhanced performance and alignment with core values, for better teaching… and better learning.
Why bring mindfulness into our industry?
As ELT professionals, we find ourselves in the unique position of interacting every day with learners and clients from the position of role models. But rarely are we aware of what we communicate beyond the words and materials we use.
In fact, more often than not, we are actually unaware of our inner landscape because the pull of what happens and what we need to do (in other words, the content of the interaction) is so strong. Plus, our mind’s nature is to be easily distracted and entertained, and we have not trained ourselves to become familiar with or to establish and maintain contact with our inner mental and emotional states.
In their book “Everybody Present, Mindfulness in Education“, Nicolaj and Didde Flor Rotne explain that mindfulness is a universal human capacity that is accessible to everyone and it means being aware of what is happening in our present experiences, observing with compassion, insight and an intention to create joy.
A term we frequently use ourselves is to raise awareness in reference to the aims for our learners, especially in our lesson plans. We aim to raise awareness about a particular grammar or pronunciation point. We want our learners to be aware of how language is produced, how it fits together, what is applicable and correct in different contexts and we spend a lot of time learning ourselves about tone, register and appropriacy in language. We intertwine this knowledge with cultural information. But what about awareness of self? And what about awareness of the other?
Are we aware of our own tendencies in speech and action, our own thoughts, assumptions, motivation and emotions and the impact these could have on our learners and those around us, especially if our underlying mental or emotional tone look anything like any of these?
As teachers, teacher-trainers or mentors, we work with people, either face to face, one to one, in groups, or virtually via distance learning and new technology. We try to help those we work with to learn and develop, and so we need to be able to understand our own thoughts, assumptions, attitudes and actions to make sure we too are learning and that our teaching is constructive.
In their article “Teachers’ Emotion Regulation and Classroom Management”, Sutton, Mudrey-Camino and Knight describe a series of studies on teachers’ attempts to modify the intensity and duration of their emotions, and how their emotions are expressed in the classroom (Theory Into Practice, 48:130-137, 2009). McPhearson, Kearney and Plax examine students’ reactions to teachers’ normative and nonnormative expressions of anger in their article, “The Dark Side of Instruction: Teacher Anger as Classroom Norm Violations” (Journal of Applied Communication Research, Vol. 31, No. 1, February 2003, p. 76-90). The results of these studies show the relationahsip between our affective, psychological and intellectual competency and the effectiveness of our performance on the whole.
Mindful ELT‘s Workshops are designed to help us develop clarity and understanding, so that we can see, discern, cultivate and nurture healthy aspects of ourselves and transform those areas that are not conducive to our own well-being and the well-being of our learners and those around us.
Register for one of our 4-week workshops or commit to practising for just 8 weeks by registering for both workshops today and experience a transformation in the flesh: from unruly reactivity to skillful response, from inner tightness born from stress, anxiety or fear to confident spaciousness and freedom.
Happy teachers change the world
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Education needs not only to develop our intelligence but also to support the basic human values of warm-heartedness and compassion
~ Dalai Lama
When you know better, you do better
~ Maya Angelou
Strive not to be someone of worth but someone of value
~ Albert Einstein
Just where you are – that’s the place to start
~ Pema Chodron
If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place
~ Eckhart Tolle
Sign up now to receive our Top 10 Tips for effective mindfulness preparation
(Because the practice starts before you sit)