Teachers in Danish schools are reported to suffer from increasing stress and children in school to have increasing concentration and thriving problems. Politicians blame the parents and claim more discipline in school even though research in children at risk of marginalization in education point toward inclusive school strategies and training of teachers’ competences to manage diversity and awareness (Nielsen, 2011 a; Nordenbo, 2008). The presentation is based on participatory action research at a course in “Mindfulness, awareness and empathy” that aims to contribute to the participating teachers’ competences to be aware of and manage their states of mind in challenging social work-life situations as teachers in primary and secondary schools in Denmark. ‘Awareness-culture’ conceptualizes the socio-cultural processes that contribute to the participants’ learning and development of awareness and attention (Nielsen, 2011 b). The presentation will address how instructors and participants at the course produce experiences of shared meanings and openhearted connectedness in an awareness-culture of activities that involve the body (sitting, moving, breathing and focusing in specific ways), involve sharing experiences in language, metaphors and narratives and involve artifacts in the course context and in a training program for the participants at home. Data is from a bodily based mindfulness training course for teachers (8 days in a 6 months period with 18 participants), participants’ logs and a total of 9 interviews. The experienced competences to be aware of and manage states of mind seem to produce resilience as well as vulnerability as they intersect with other contexts and awareness-cultures such as the schools where the participating teachers work. The method combines sensory experiences of participants and observers and narratives about experiences and artifacts in various contexts.
Mindfulness in School; Awareness-culture; vulnerability and resilience
Main Research Area:
Seventh International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, 2011