Katherine Weare, author of newly released book ‘Happy teachers change the World’ and Mind & Life associate member, reflects on a recent Mind and Life education gathering in Frankfurt.
Across the world there is a developing consensus that many young people are struggling to cope with our fast paced, interconnected word and that we urgently need new forms of education to help young people meet the emotional, social, intellectual, ethical and spiritual challenges they, and indeed all of us, face. Encouraged by a new curriculum that is in its early stages of development at Emory University in the United states, the Dalai Lama and the Tibet House, Frankfurt convened experts from across Europe. They work on various ways to foster an education that cultivates the wellbeing of the whole child, under terms such as mindfulness, contemplative learning, ethics, values, social and emotional learning, mental health, and neuroscience.
In a fascinating and lively day, we discussed the new ‘SEE’ (social, emotional and ethical) curriculum, and explored more generally how to bring a renewed energy, focus, direction and coherence to this work across the diverse context which is Europe. I was happy to contribute some thoughts from my long career developing research and programmes in this field across Europe, including what I learned through writing a recently published book ‘Happy Teachers Change the World: a guide to cultivating mindfulness in education’, with Thich Nhat Hahn. Here we attempted to capture his vision of an interconnected and ethical approach to education, outline some core mindfulness practices, and bring together the lived experience of around 500 teachers across the world who are developing work in their lives, classrooms, and schools inspired by this approach.
Happy teachers change the world: a guide for cultivating mindfulness in education is available through Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Happy-Teachers-Change-World-Cultivating/dp/1941529631