• Mindfulness for educators: fostering awareness and resilience in the classroom

      Bursiel, Morgan R.; Vinlove, Amy; Healy, Joanne; McIntosh, Susan (2014-08)
      Teaching in the public schools is demanding work, and addressing teacher stress in the classroom remains a significant challenge in education. Increasing numbers of children come to school unprepared and often at risk of mental health and behavioral concerns, yet teachers are expected to provide emotionally responsive support to all students, manage larger classroom sizes, and meet the growing academic demands imposed by standardized testing. Despite these high expectations, teachers rarely receive training to address and skillfully handle the social-emotional challenges of their profession. A current examination of teacher educational and in-service professional development activities indicates that little professional development specifically targets these competencies. Over the last decade, mindfulness--the intentional cultivation of focused attention and awareness--has grown from its initial western applications in medicine to other disciplines, including education. Studies have shown that even a few weeks of practicing mindfulness can bring a variety of physical, emotional, and social benefits to teachers and students alike. This project aims to introduce mindfulness training to teachers to bolster positive qualities of mind and enhance responsive, compassionate teaching.
    • Teacher-led professional development in arts and culture: promoting teacher ability to engage students using their place

      King, Sandra J. (2017)
      This project is a piece of the SILKAT (Sustaining Indigenous and Local Knowledge, Arts, and Teaching) Grant that is funded by Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. It describes the development of one of the professional developments modules as well as two of the cultural art units that make up the Professional Development Course and Cultural K-12 Art Curriculum that are being created for the Bering Strait School District as (BSSD) a part of this grant. The professional development module described leads teachers through learning the core practice of "engaging students with their place." This is extremely valuable in all areas, but especially the BSSD, as the schools are very remote, located in Alaska Native villages off of the road system. The art units will address the cultural values of "understanding others" and "hard-work/self-sufficiency." These values will be reinforced using appropriate studio habits of mind that are transferable skills to any content or situation.