Teachers Trained on Mind-Body Connection

More than anybody else teachers need training on mind-body connection so that students could receive a high-class education.

Most of the teachers are tempted to yell, “Quiet down!” when students are shouting out of turn and cannot keep their pockets on their seats. However, in such situations, Rebecca Brenner and Randi Jo Taurel recommend ringing a bell softly.

This method, along with other techniques, is what Taurel and Brenner, local yoga and mindfulness instructors, call mindful teaching, and they are educating teachers about it at Ecker Hill Middle School and Weilenmann School of Discovery. This school year, 12 teachers and two counselors at Ecker Hill and six teachers at Weilenmann are participating in a 12-week online training program.

In Park City School, Taurel and Brenner have been teaching mindfulness for several years. Prof. Jon Kabat-Zinn describes it as "Awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally."

The techniques learned through the weekly meetings and online courses with Taurel and Brenner are simple and quick, such as ringing a bell and waiting until every child raises their hand at the end of the ring, or doing a guided body scan to individually focus on separate parts of the body.

"It's something where they can take a short time, find their breath and then begin with a more focused and present feeling," Taurel said. "It's for the teachers and the students. They can begin together."

Owing to a $20,000 grant given to Ecker Hill from the Park City Education Foundation (PCEF) and a $15,000 donation from Weilenmann, the program could be successfully launched. Last year, the foundation funded mindfulness workshops for teachers and counselors grades K-12 and for students at Ecker Hill due to the deaths of two students at Treasure Mountain Junior High School, said Jen Billow, associate director of the foundation. Now, the organization is focusing on training teachers, who can in turn train students.

Once a teacher is properly educated and trained on the mind-body connection, not only he unlocks his/her hidden potential but also learns to strike a perfect balance between his mind and body.