Teaching is a multidimensional undertaking that calls on educators to engage in responsive interactions and decision-making as they navigate complex and ambiguous contexts, examine deeply held beliefs and values, and integrate personal and professional knowledge. Such an undertaking requires personal integrity and ongoing reflective practice. This chapter considers how the concept of mindfulness might become an integral part of reflective practice – supporting more holistic understandings of interactions, contexts and experiences. Mindful and contemplative ways of paying attention to the current moment are important strategies for negotiating the multi-faceted and relational challenges of teaching, learning and leadership. Mindfulness can help us attend to the personal, emotional and interactive dimensions of our work, and to the implications of actions for the longer term. Mindfulness can support our ability to connect with and respond to young children and make a positive difference to their learning, health and wellbeing. Bringing ourselves fully and purposefully to teaching and leadership practices requires self-understanding and appreciation of our personal histories, identities, strengths and experiences, as well as awareness of our values and aspirations. Working mindfully supports the development of interpersonal relationship and ethics. Heightening our abilities to listen and bring caring and compassion to our collaborative interactions contributes to leaderful practice and sustainable professionalism. To support the application of this knowledge, this chapter offers some everyday resources and specific practices to support the development of mindfulness through self-study and self-reflection. Incorporating these into daily practice will encourage authenticity, intentionality and agency and facilitate meaning, wellbeing and purpose.
Mindfulness is important.
In the activity of my life,
I take time to stop, listen, and reflect.
I slow my pace. I do not rush.
Throughout the day I pause …
and engage mindfully
I re- establish serenity.
I am led in the way of focused productivity,
through the art of awareness and attention in the present moment.
Even though I have so much to undertake and complete each day,
I will not worry, for I know who I am and what gives meaning to my work.
Practising mindfulness keeps me balanced,
and fully conscious in my experiences.
Contemplative practices refresh and renew.
They support my wellbeing and my learning to see.