Mindfulness Archives - Teaching Empathy Institute
Teaching Empathy Institute works to establish emotionally and physically safe learning communities for elementary, middle and high school students and the adults who work with them. Working in the Hudson Valley of New York, TEI creates tailor-made programs designed to foster dialogue about social culture building while strengthening the capacity for the infusion of empathy and compassion into all aspects of the learning experience.
Teaching Empathy Institute, SEL, Social and emotional learning, mindfulness, diversity, education, bullying, anti-bullying, k-12, learning, david levine, school of belonging
154
archive,category,category-mindfulness,category-154,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,boxed,,qode-title-hidden,qode-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,qode-theme-ver-11.0,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.12,vc_responsive

Beginning in the late 1950’s, educator and social activist Paulo Freire was working on an adult literacy project among the peasants in his native Brazil. Freire’s challenge was to teach illiterate workers how to read. What Freire soon found out was that the ignorance in which these people lived forced them into a “culture of silence”. The rulers of the country had the power and voice, while these peasants had neither. Freire found fault with the existing system of education, which he felt enforced the social inequalities already in place. Instead he developed his own system, a “pedagogy of the...

I like to begin this lesson with an explanation such as this: Have you ever left home and suddenly realized you've forgotten something such as your homework or lunch? Once you thought "Oh, I forgot that," you were able to get whatever it was you forgot before you were too far from home. But who said, "Oh, I forgot that?" This was your inner voice. The inner voice talks to you with unexpected thoughts or physical feelings and sensations (saying for example, "this just doesn't feel right"). Pass out index cards and have students write down one situation in which...

A school that is working with the principles of social and emotional learning,  promotes an inner journey by the professionals who teach there. The late Donald Schön, an organizational learning theorist, professor, and author, in his work posited that a healthy learning organization is the outgrowth of reflective practice. He defines reflective practice as “the capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning". The focus on continuous learning is key because it represents the challenge of doing things differently if current practices are not working as well as they could be. A reflective practitioner...

I recently received a Fitbit as a gift from my wife, Jodi. The Fitbit is a watch which, amongst other things, monitors how many steps one walks during the day. The most exciting time of my day now happens at night, when my Fitbit vibrates with its lights flickering, celebrating that I have walked 10,000 steps for that day. 10,000 steps seems like a lot but when it’s done with  purpose and support, when it becomes a way of being, it’s like breathing, it’s natural. What if empathy was practiced so frequently that it became as natural as breathing or walking...

The idea of school safety conjures up images of single points of entry, signing in at the front of the school, showing identification to security personnel, and wearing a name badge.  These are all relatively new physical safety practices for schools and yet are necessary when it comes to protecting the children (and staff) in our schools. The companion to physical safety practices is another form of safety known as emotional safety which is just as critical only more elusive.  Both forms of safety stem from by getting one’s physical and emotional needs met. Whether one references Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of...

Those of us who work with children too often see the emotional impact current life circumstances have on our students. The typical “helping response” is to label, test, or separate in order to manage the unhealthy behaviors which we encounter. A young person’s painful experiences need not be a way of life, but rather, potentially an opening to another way of being, with new power amidst life’s possibilities. Within the context of the big curriculum author Gary Zukav refers to as Earth School, each individual comes into the human experience with a life IEP (Individual Educational Plan), and it is our...

A caring culture frees students to attain the highest possible levels of social and academic achievement. The journey is not always easy; often, both teachers and students must develop new habits of thought and action. But the rewards are immeasurable. The first step is to paint a picture of the classroom culture you want to create. You can do this by answering the following four questions: What do my students need to succeed? All students have emotional needs: the need for belonging and acceptance, the need for personal power and self-competence, the need for independence and self-responsibility, and the need for meaningful...

Salons are the scaffolding for conversation.  They are a “third place,” an alternative to work and home.  The third place is less defined in structure and specific functions than work and home, but no less deliberate in its value to a community.  In Ireland they are the pubs, in Seattle, the coffee houses.    Within the salon experience, conversation is key; partly because it creates contact with another mind, imparts a value to communication, and creates connected, ever enlarging experiments with influencing others.  It allows us to experience how others represent reality and how they process information.  It allows us to experiment and...