Art of Teaching

Explore the contemplative and mindful aspects of teaching:


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Parker Palmer was one of the pioneers in proposing a contemplative approach to the practice of teaching, beginning with his books To Know as We are Known: Education as a Spiritual Practice, and The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life. He has continued his work, offering a wider scope of programs, retreats, and resources through the Center for Courage & Renewal.


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Since the early work of Parker Palmer, a movement of mindfulness in education has grown in the last 10-15 years, paralleling the movement of mindfulness practices into mainstream society. These are three books I recommend for their depth of knowledge, experience, and contextual understanding of the roots of these practices. They all share the view that mindfulness must be woven first into the fabric of a teacher’s life and practice before they can effectively be taught directly to students.

Patricia Jennings, author of Mindfulness for Teachers, was instrumental in starting the CARE for Teachers program, Thich Nhat Hanh is a well-known author and Vietnamese Zen teacher whose life direction was shaped by the Vietnam War and subsequent exile in France. He has paired with Katherine Weare to produce Happy Teachers Change the World. Hopefully you had an opportunity to meet Kevin Hawkins, author of Mindful Teacher, Mindful School, presenting at ELMLE with Amy Burke, co-founders of MindWell Education.

ELMLE Valencia 2019

Michael will present the following workshop on January 26 at the European League of Middle Level Educators 2019 Conference in Valencia, Spain. Click here for more information. Explore these ideas further with the linked pages and resources under the ELMLE Valencia 2019 tab. Art & Mindfulness: Nurturing the Creative, Authentic Self Guiding young people to… Continue reading ELMLE Valencia 2019

Holistic Art Education

Teaching Art and the Creative Encounter      Peter London is the author of No More Secondhand Art and Drawing Closer to Nature, as well as many scholarly articles on holistic art education. Visit his website to learn more about his ideas and work. John Dewey’s Art as Experience is a classic in the field of holistic… Continue reading Holistic Art Education

Roots of Contemplative Art

   A contemplative approach to the arts has a long tradition in Zen and other forms of Buddhism. John Daido Loori was an American Zen teacher who explored the roots of these Zen Arts practices and their co-mingling with modern artists and art forms in his book The Zen of Creativity. Tibetan teacher Chögyam Trungpa… Continue reading Roots of Contemplative Art

Mindfulness & Authentic Self

  Joseph Campbell’s work, and in particular the volume Pathways to Bliss, is an outstanding place to explore the ways we can go about finding our authentic selves through the land of myth, archetype, and the mythical hero’s journey. There is nothing that gets at the heart of you like the challenge of writing down… Continue reading Mindfulness & Authentic Self