“The practice of mindfulness has the capacity to relieve the suffering in oneself and to help the other person to suffer less and restore communication and realize reconciliation. And all of this we believe can be taught in school. We have trained groups of schoolteachers who try their best in order to bring this practice to schools, because in our education system now, both teachers and students suffer a lot.” Thich Nhat Hanh
For teachers to effectively transmit mindfulness to their students, they must learn to apply it first in their own daily lives. Therefore Wake Up Schools training is in two stages: the first encourages teachers to embody the practice, the second focuses on sharing mindfulness practices with their students and school communities.
The two training levels build upon the teachings of the Buddha, but they are non-religious and non-sectarian. Their foundation relies on the insights and concrete practices of Buddhism: interdependence, non-duality, and the intimate connection between happiness and suffering.
Scientific evidence has demonstrated that methods arising from the Buddhist tradition are effective, and that they can be applied successfully in an educational and secular context.
Level I: Taking Care of the Teacher
Level I Training focuses on learning the basic Plum Village mindfulness practices and incorporating them into our lives. These include:
- Cultivating awareness of breathing to help unite body and mind, and develop concentration
- Caring for our body to reduce stress and pain
- Learning to cultivate feelings of joy and happiness, and appreciate what we already have
- Learning to simplify our lives so that we have more time to relax and enjoy life
- Learning to listen to and embrace our strong emotions, such as fear, anger, anxiety and despair
- Learning to use loving speech and compassionate listening to care for our relationships
- Exploring non-sectarian, ethical guidelines for our own health and happiness, and that of our families, schools, communities, societies, and the world
- Looking deeply into our consumption and production, as individuals and as a society
Wake Up Schools Level I Training is offered in the form of a residential Educators’ Retreat where participants can collectively experience the basic practices.
Level II: Teaching Mindfulness and Applied Ethics to Students
Level II Training supports educators who have incorporated the basic mindfulness practices into their daily lives to share these practices in their school environment. This includes:
- Learning to guide sessions of relaxation for students
- Learning to help students recognize and handle strong emotions
- Learning the art of building community so that our classroom and our school can become a loving family environment
- Learning to creatively resolve conflicts in the classroom
- Helping students develop compassion by understanding their own suffering and that of their peers
- Developing an age and context-appropriate mindfulness curriculum that can be applied in the classroom
Wake Up Schools Level II Training takes the form of a year long mentorship relationship with an experienced Plum Village Mindfulness Teacher. It is open to educators who:
- have attended a Plum Village retreat or Wake Up Schools Level I Training
- have received and practice the 5 Mindfulness Training
- regularly practice with a mindfulness community