Mindfulness Meditation in Teaching Resources

In an article in our Synergia December 2013 issue Dr. Bill Brendel, associate professor in Organization Learning and Development, wrote extensively about the mindfulness movement and some ways in which faculty can facilitate mindful practice with students:

Some professors have even started to facilitate mindfulness practice with students at the beginning of each class because they concur with the pedagogical principle, that “…reciprocity and attunement with students supports their development and contributes to social and emotional learning” (Schoeberlein & Sheth, 2009, p .37). For each of these professors, incorporating mindfulness into routines also provides a practical way of rediscovering the joy of serving students for the first time, every time.

Last summer, Dr. Vanessa Cornett-Murtada and I facilitated a workshop for professors on strategically integrating mindfulness into teaching. Frankly, we were shocked by the results. Thirty professors in attendance developed what seemed like an infinite list of ways to be mindful in serving students before, during, and after class. Here is a summary of just some of the ideas that were generated and are now being practiced by this growing community.

Grades and Assessments

  • Creating exams mindfully.
  • Staying present while grading.
  • Mindfully not being exclusively “grade centered.”
  • Being aware of distractions when responding to student papers.
  • Becoming more oriented to the students minds when doing (or avoiding) grading.
  • Mindfully combat procrastination and distraction around grading.
  • Create activities or assignments that allow students to use mindfulness to learn material.
  • Integrate mindfulness in class participation grade.

Awareness of Students in Classroom

  • Pay fuller attention to students and listen more completely.
  • Be better able to handle defensiveness on my part when in a difficult classroom situation.
  • Seize and relish moments to pause and ask the class to be aware of processes, comments, and events that have occurred in our midst.
  • Develop a sense of community and togetherness.
  • Hear the entirety of a student’s question before formulating a response.
  • Notice when students are bored or confused and adjust in real time.
  • I’d like to be more aware of how classroom activities are being perceived and experienced by my students.

Teaching Mindfulness in and out of the classroom

  • Shift focus away from “I have to learn X amount by the time I finish/graduate this course” to a less judgmental progression/journey.
  • Integrate mindfulness in teaching (course content) if it fits everywhere.
  • During class activities, circulate/engage students to ‘be with’ and reflect on what they are doing.
  • Deepen integration and understanding of context.
  • Make our daily free-writing exercise more mindful.
  • Explicitly model for students in class.
    Talk about what mindfulness is.
  • End a class with breath, not “out of breath!


  • Find peace with all of the tasks I do not enjoy.
  • Feel more engaged in teaching, more present, instead of feeling like it is an interruption to other things I need to get done or other places I’d rather be.
  • Be more mindful of students as individuals (whole person).
  • Become more efficient by managing the past/present.
  • Improve patience.
  • Reduce anxiety.
  • Be able to read IDEA reports without anxiety of self-criticism.
  • Become calm by removing judgment.
  • Not radiate anxiety, fear, vulnerability, and self-loathing.
  • Find joy in what I’m doing


The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education:http://www.acmhe.org
On recent neuroscience studies of brain activity:  Raichle, M. E. (2010). The Brain's Dark Energy. Scientific American, 302(3), 44-49.
Toward the Integration of Meditation into Higher Education: A Review of the Research by S. L. Shapiro, K.W. Brown, and J.A. Astin from http://www.colorado.edu/ftep/events/eventdocs/documents/ShapiroResearchReport.pdf
Contemplative Pedagogy resources from Vanderbuilt University's Center for Teachinghttp://cft.vanderbilt.edu/teaching-guides/teaching-activities/contemplative-pedagogy/
Examples of ways to incorporate contemplative practice into the classroomhttp://cft.vanderbilt.edu/teaching-guides/teaching-activities/contemplative-pedagogy/#activities

Fall 2014 Newsletter

Core Values:

Community, Healing, Reflection, Curiosity, Creativity, Balance, & Patience

Strategic Initiatives:
To create a safe space for supporting and educating the UST community in meditative and contemplative practices by:

  1. Offering free, weekly mindfulness and movement meditation sessions open to students, faculty, and staff.
  2. Facilitating others in expanding their personal practice through a variety of resources, including: coaching, information sessions, and meditation media library.
  3. Coordinating meditation retreats.
  4. Serving as a resource for integrating contemplative practices into research and pedagogy.
  5. Serving as a community of practice, celebrating the growth and possibilities that have been actualized by UST members through mindfulness and contemplative practices.
  6. Maintaining close relationships with local initiatives that aim to awaken the mind, heart, and body to the present moment.
  7. Developing a rigorous, interdisciplinary academic curriculum related to contemplative studies.

The PMC web site contains additional resources and specific initiatives for UST faculty, staff and students.