MLE Webcast: Education (Series 3)

Track "Education"

The MLE webcast series on Education was launched in 2020 with the first series. Curated by Prof. Katherine Weare, Ph.D., Principal Investigator of the Community of Contemplative Education (CCE), the third series follows this track and illustrates emerging and challenging areas as well as next steps of Contemplative Education (CE).

Overall there will be three series in the track of education with seven videos each. The three series will deal with the topics of

The interactive webinar with Katherine Weare (90min.) for Q&A regarding the webcast on Education will take place in mid-/end of April. MLE Friends will be sent an invitation to register for this webinar. As the curator, Katherine Weare will be joined by the contributors of Series 3: Rony Berger, Michael Bready, Mikkel B. Kristiansen, Orlaith O'Sullivan and Karlheinz Valtl.

About the Expert & Curator

Katherine Weare, United Kingdom

Katherine Weare is Emeritus Professor at the University of Southampton, UK, and the Principal Investigator for the MLE Community of Contemplative Education (CCE) Initiative.

Katherine is the curator and designer of this webcast series, weaving into its themes her own extensive experience and selected contributions from the community of experts from the CCE initiative she has helped to lead. She is known internationally for her work on contemplative and mindfulness based approaches, and is herself a professionally trained and active mindfulness teacher with a regular Vipassana meditation practice.  Her recent best selling book, co-written with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh "Happy Teachers Change The World" has been translated into 6 languages.

She has a long term career as an expert on well-being, social and emotional learning, and mental health for young people and those who live and work with them. She has published widely, reviewed the evidence base, advised the UK government, EU and WHO, and developed practical strategies and programmes in these fields across most European countries. She is co-lead for Mindfulness in Education policy for the Mindfulness Initiative in the UK. Katherine is a Mind & Life Europe Association member.

Further contributors

As the curator of this MLE webcast series, Prof. Katherine Weare, Ph.D., invited five experts who are current members of the Community of Contemplative Education (CCE): Rony Berger, Michael Bready, Mikkel B. Kristiansen, Orlaith O'Sullivan and Karlheinz Valtl to share their insights.

Please find more information about the contributors below.

Series 3: Emerging and Challenging Areas and Next Steps for Contemplative Education


Part 1: Where is Contemplative Education (CE) going? Emerging Areas for Research and Development in CE and Overview of the Series

Katherine Weare introduces the series, and explores a theme raised by several of our speakers - the potential downsides and the - often over hyped - dangers of CE and meditation practice. What are the small, and large pitfalls into which we can all fall if we are not careful? How do we, as best we can, cultivate forms of CE that are safe and beneficial for different people at different times? By Professor Katherine Weare.

Link to part 1


Part 2: Contemplative Education and Radical Educational Transformation

Katherine Weare explores a theme touched on by many of the speakers in this series -  the role of CE in responding to the challenges of a world in all kinds of social, environmental and existential crises, and offering all kinds of opportunities for creating ways forward and healing if we work together. What does CE contribute to efforts to help education to cultivate the skills, attitudes, sense of connection and ways of knowing that humanity urgently needs to ensure that we, and our beloved planet, thrive in the 21st century? By Professor Katherine Weare.

Link to part 2


Part 3: Reducing Outgroup Prejudice among Youth with Mindfulness and Compassion-Based Programs.

Stereotyping and prejudice are among the most prevalent and significant psychological and social problems in the world. These disturbing social phenomena profoundly affect the security, mental health and well-being of children. In this talk Rony Berger will describe two large studies that suggests that utilizing mindfulness and compassion-based programs can reduce intergroup stereotyping, prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory tendencies in elementary school children, reductions that were maintained 15 months following the programs. Furthermore, these intergroup attitudinal changes were achieved among Arab and Jewish Israeli pupils living in an ethnic violent area. These results have significant implications for implementing mindfulness and compassion-based practices in promoting positive intergroup relations, in areas characterized by ethnic tension and violent conflict. By Rony Berger.

Link to part 3


Part 4: Teaching Mindfulness in Pre-Service Teacher Education

Karlheinz Valtl highlights about the importance ofImplementing mindfulness into schools which requires teachers who are trained in it and who can embody it. In his talk he explains that this training should start from Phase 1 of teacher education at universities. It aims at far more than just showing how to teach mindfulness to students - it is a key element of teacher education that fosters teacher identity, self-care, resilience, presence, and engagement and that enhances the enactment of all other pedagogical knowledge and skills. By Karlheinz Valtl.

Link to part 4


Part 5: Focus on Ethics (SEE Learning)

Mikkel B. Kristiansen explores how Social, Emotional and Ethical Learning (SEE Learning) answers the Dalai Lama's vision for an education of the heart and mind and the promotion of basic human values and ethics through education. The Dalai Lama is absolutely is absolutely convinced that we can talk about and teach these values or ethics in a completely universal and secular way. We can do so on the basis of common experience, common sense and science and built around two pillars - common humanity and interdependence. This is basically SEE Learning. As you will learn in this talk, SEE Learning is a SEL program, it's a mindfulness education program and it's a contemplative education program - but it?s original intention is first and foremost to bring secular ethics into education. By Mikkel B. Kristiansen.

Link to part 5


Part 6: Focus on Ethics (Wake Up Schools).

Orlaith O'Sullivan, PhD, shares the Wake Up Schools approach of applied ethics in education. What explicit ethical supports can we use to imbue a school with the ethos of mindfulness and compassion? Sometimes described as 'refined SEL', the work of Wake Up Schools seeks to build capacity based on the principles of embodiment, service and community. Orlaith explores practical ways to create a sustainable culture of kindness and know that our happiness is not an individual matter. By Orlaith O'Sullivan.

Link to part 6


Part 7: Mindfulness and Values.

Michael Bready makes the case for a relationship-before-content approach to teaching mindfulness. For many young people, adolescence is a time of increased stress, self-consciousness, and fear of judgment from others, and this stress is exacerbated for the 50% of young people that experience one or more traumatic events by the time they reach 18. Feeling unsafe, then, is a ubiquitous experience for teenagers, and this state of being is the opposite of the openness and curiosity needed to authentically explore mindfulness. In this talk, Michael Bready explores how we can lay a positive foundation for learning mindfulness through positive relationships. By Michael Bready.

Link to part 7

Q&A Session based on Webcast

On mid-/end of April, 2021, all MLE Friends will be invited to participate in a Q&A Session with Katherine Weare (curator of the education series) and the five contributors: Rony Berger, Michael Bready, Mikkel Bjelke Kristiansen, Orlaith O'Sullivan and Karlheinz Valtl. The interactive webinar was used to answer questions and deepen the discussion around the topic of the third MLE series in Education on "Emerging and Challenging Areas and Next Steps for Contemplative Education".

Link to the Q&A

About the Contributors

Rony Berger

Dr. Rony Berger is a senior clinical psychologist who is an internationally recognized expert in dealing with the psychological preparation for and aftermath of terrorism and other major disasters as well as prejudice-reduction among ethnic groups in conflict. Dr. Berger is the co-director of The Center of Compassionate Mindful Education (CCME) at Tel Aviv University as well as on the faculty of the Stress, Crisis and Trauma program at Tel Aviv University. He is also on the on the advisory board of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University where he assists in developing manuals to enhance community resiliency.

Dr. Berger has lectured, consulted and held workshops for a wide range of world organizations including such as FEMA, Red Cross, WHO, UNICEF e.g. and has led humanitarian delegations. He has published two books, wrote numerous articles in peer reviewed journals and authored several chapters on dealing with the aftermath of major disasters. Dr. Berger has also developed with the Mind & Life Institute a new educational program for both teachers and students, Call To Care, geared to cultivate compassion and pro-social orientation.
Dr. Berger is a member of the CCE - Holism and Research group.

Michael Bready

Michael's been a passionate practitioner of mindfulness for over 16 years and has spent long stretches on retreat in various meditation traditions in Nepal, India, France and the UK. He holds a graduate degree in Studies in Mindfulness from the University of Aberdeen and a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. He founded Youth Mindfulness in 2011 and has taught mindfulness to thousands of children, teenagers and young adults as well as trained hundreds of educators. In the course of this work, he led the development of the first mindfulness programme for young men in prison in Scotland in partnership with the University of Glasgow. More recently, as a founding member of Mindful Nation Scotland (a collaboration of leading mindfulness organisations bringing mindfulness to politicians) he?s taught mindfulness to Members of the Scottish Parliament. His current passion is exploring what science is telling us about human nature and how this can lead us to a brighter, wiser and more humane future.

Mikkel B. Kristiansen

Mikkel B. Kristiansen is a visiting scholar at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he supports the international implementation and scaling of Social, Emotional and Ethical Learning (SEE Learning). Mikkel has a background in education and organizational development and has been involved with H.H. the Dalai Lama?s vision for an education of the heart and mind for more than 15 years.

In this period, he has contributed to the development of several major organizations including the international training organization ? The Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom. For the past 2,5 year he has been working for the Danish Government in curriculum development, implementation and evaluation.
Mikkel is a member of the CCE - Teacher Education group.

Orlaith O'Sullivan

Orlaith has been practicing mindfulness for over 22 years in the tradition of Plum Village / Thich Nhat Hanh. She is internationally recognised for her work teaching mindfulness and cultivating happiness. She teaches to all ages and has created several initiatives to share mindfulness in fun and creative ways. Orlaith teaches mindfulness to children up to 14 years on the virtual learning platform Adventure2Learning. Her courses Mindful Family, Strengths to Thrive (for teens), and Cultivating Happiness were the first courses of their kind in Ireland. These courses are founded on learning together as a family, blending mindfulness and character strengths and positive neuroplasticity. Orlaith is founder of five mindfulness community groups (two based in Dublin city for adults and for children, and three international online groups, for adults, for families and for teachers).

In Ireland, Orlaith works directly with NEPS (National Educational Psychological Service), HSA, HSE, parents? associations and after-school groups. She works with the pupils, staff and parents of schools. She is International Co-ordinator for Wake Up Schools, an international grass-roots movement to support teachers and create mindful educational communities. Orlaith is also a founder member of the Community for Contemplative Education and serves on the Steering Group on Mindfulness in Education for the Mindfulness Initiative (UK). Orlaith co-produced Ireland?s first mindfulness retreat for educators in 2018 and the world?s first online retreat for families with Plum Village monastics in 2020. She also helped to establish the community festival Family Day - Ireland's largest celebration of the diversity of the family in Ireland today. She is an advisor to the World Happiness Festival and speaks regularly at conferences, including the Mindfulness in Education Summit, Preschool Mindfulness in Education Summit and various wellbeing and mindfulness events. She was a reader for the award-winning textbook ?Happy Teachers Change the World: A Guide to Integrating Mindfulness in Education? by Prof. Katherine Weare and Thich Nhat Hanh.

Orlaith is an experienced and passionate teacher. She holds a PhD in English and is known for weaving poetry into her practice. She is a leader in Mindfulness & Strengths and is also a certified teacher in Rainbow Kids Yoga. She served as Child Protection Officer when working with Devon County Council in the UK; she was trained in Child Protection and holds a recent Garda Clearance.

Karlheinz Valtl

Karlheinz Valtl's degrees include a doctorate in Pedagogy and Psychology (University of Regensburg, Germany), First and Second State Exams as a teacher, and numerous advanced trainings in psychology, spirituality, body work, and pedagogy. He is the Scientific Director of the first Master?s Degree in mindfulness in German language (entitled Mindfulness in Education, Counselling and Health Care) that started in 2018. He currently leads the project Mindfulness in Teacher Education and Schools(Achtsamkeit in LehrerInnenbildung und Schule, ALBUS) at the University of Vienna where he also teaches educational science as an Assistant Professor. Additionally he works as a lecturer for Didactics of Higher Education at the Technical University of Vienna. The current academic focuses of his work are: Mindfulness and compassion in education, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) und Social-Emotional Competencies of teachers (SEC), Didactics of Higher Education (at university level) with a special focus on personal transformation processes in teacher education, Gender- and Sexual Education and Educational Supervision/Coaching.

Together with his team he twice a year organizes the Symposium on Mindfulness in Education at Vienna University. He is a member of the Austrian Mindfulness Initiative (Initiative Achtsames Ă–sterreich) that strives to implement mindfulness in politics, and he is founder of the Austria based Network Mindfulness in Pedagogy (Netzwerk Achtsame Pädagogik, NAP). Karlheinz Valtl is External Examiner in the Master?s degree program Studies in Mindfulness at the University of Aberdeen (GB), and formerly was director of the renowned Institute for Sexual Pedagogy (isp) in Dortmund, Germany.
Karlheinz is a member of the CCE - Teacher Education Group.