As a reader of professional materials for many years, I have come across sources that run the gamut from containing trite theory to practical, effective strategies. The beauty of The Way of Mindful Education:Cultivating Well-Being in Teachers and Students, by Daniel Rechtschaffen, is that the book covers every aspect of mindfulness in education in a way that is both clear and accessible. Following an insightful foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn (Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society at the University of Massachusetts), the book is divided into four sections which seamlessly blend into one another.
Part one of The Way of Mindful Education focuses on the history and effectiveness of mindfulness in education and introduces the ways it can benefit both students and teachers alike in terms of “body,” “mind,” “heart,” and “interconnectedness,” all backed by research. Part two raises the very important point that in order to teach mindfulness, one must practice mindfulness effectively. As a “mindful librarian” I not only consider this a practice to enhance my work but also my everyday life, hence the breakup of my blog into “mindfulness in education” and “mindful living” categories. This section of the book personally appealed to me as a parent as well as a librarian. Part three introduces practical strategies for creating a mindful climate in the classroom at all age levels, reinforcing the benefits for students in distress. Part four presents actual curriculum samples. In addition to dialogue to be used at each “stage and age” there are journaling prompts. Sections titled “world discovery” explore how each lesson can enhance their lives outside of the classroom.
I can’t rave enough about this book. In addition to clearly defining mindfulness, and explaining the multitude of benefits of mindfulness practices and mindful environments for both teachers and students, I uncovered a multitude of takeaways to help me in my personal mindfulness practice and in the creation of a mindful home environment beyond my mindful library.