MLE Webcast: Education (Series 1)

Track "Education"

The next MLE webcast series is a course on education, curated by Prof. Katherine Weare, Ph.D., Principal Investigator of the Community of Contemplative Education (CCE).

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

  • Series 1: Foundations of Contemplative Education
  • Series 2: Making Contemplative Education Happen in Practice: The Rocky Road to Implementation
  • Series 3: Emerging and Challenging Areas and Next Steps for CE

Specifically, this first series in the field of education introduces contemplative education, outlines its scope, themes, and research base, and gives an overview of current developments in schools and universities across Europe and the rest of the world.

The interactive webinar with Katherine Weare (90min.) for Q&A regarding the webcast on Education took place on November 24, 2020, at 18:00 CET. MLE Friends were be sent an invitation to register for this webinar.

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 four experts who are current members of the Community of Contemplative Education (CCE): Caroline Barratt, Dusana Dorjee, Kevin Hawkins and Guy Claxton to share their insights.

Please find more information about the contributors below.

Education (Series 1) - Foundations of Contemplative Education

Part 1: What is contemplative education and why do we need it?



An exploration of the aims and core concepts at the heart of CE. How practices such as mindfulness, meditation, compassion, and self reflection for students and faculty are contributing to the transformation of school, university and lifelong education to help us all meet the urgent challenges of the 21st Century. By Professor Katherine Weare.

Part 2: “They are not trainee monks”.



How do we develop forms of CE that speak to the vibrant and complex lives of young people, start where they are, and build on their urge to feel fully alive? By Guy Claxton.

Part 3: Contemplative Education in Europe, a thumbnail sketch.



As programmes and curricula to cultivate CE steadily develop across Europe, what is emerging about the principles and practice for effective implementation, evaluation, opportunities and challenges? By Professor Katherine Weare.

Part 4: Teaching mindfully.



Some reflections on why mindfulness in education needs to start with the educator, as the root of bringing a more balanced and warm-hearted approach to our teaching and our students, and insights from an ex headteacher, mindfulness expert and programme developer on how this can be achieved to help teachers be more effective and feel more valued. By Kevin Hawkins.

Part 5: The evidence for contemplative education.



What do we know about the impacts of CE from qualitative and quantitative research with students and teachers - on wellbeing, mental health, social and emotional learning, cognition/learning, teacher effectiveness, and self-understanding? What are the strengths and limitations of the current evidence and the research? By Professor Katherine Weare.

Part 6: Investigating contemplative education using qualitative methods.



There is more to research on CE than numbers. How can we add depth to our investigations of CE using  first-person methods such as focus groups, interviews, and documents? How can we draw on a range of stakeholders and encourage student voice, and use appropriate theoretical frameworks such as action research, phenomenology and thematic analysis?  What is this adding to our understanding of CE and how it can best be cultivated? By Caroline Barratt.

Part 7: Peeping inside the black box: investigating the cognitive and neuro science of contemplative education.



What can neuroscientific research tell us about how CE works? Some reflections on what we are discovering about the underlying mechanisms behind the impacts of CE, such as self-regulation, metacognition/ decentering and self compassion. By Dusana Dorjee.

About the Contributors

Caroline Barratt, United Kingdom

Dr. Caroline Barratt is a lecturer and Deputy Director of Education - Innovation and Excellence - in the School of Health and Social Care at the University of Essex. She is interested in qualitative research, particularly narrative methods, with marginalised social groups as well as mindfulness, pedagogy and social change.

In 2014 Caroline first came across the idea of contemplative pedagogy and in response established the Contemplative Pedagogy Network. This connected her personal interest in meditation and the contemplative life with her role as educator. She is particularly interested in the potential of contemplative pedagogy in higher education to support and enhance the learning of students and teachers, education as activism and mindfulness for social change.
Caroline is a member of the CCE - Research group.

Dusana Dorjee, United Kingdom

Dusana Dorjee, PhD, is a cognitive neuroscientist, author, meditation practitioner and teacher. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology and Cognitive Science (with neuroscience focus) from the University of Arizona. Dusana also holds master's degrees in clinical psychology (Comenius University) and cognitive psychology/cognitive science (University of Arizona) and studied at doctoral level philosophy of mind and science. She leads a research lab where she investigates changes in the mind and brain resulting from meditation practice in the context of well-being across the lifespan and broader focus on developmental neuroscience of well-being. Dusana has pioneered translational neuroscience research on secular meditation with children and adolescents in schools and proposed a framework for research in contemplative science. She received several research grants in support of her research, including a Mind and Life Contemplative Studies Fellowship.

Dusana is currently developing new measures which may enable a more comprehensive and integrative investigation of modifications in the mind and brain with meditation in adults, adolescents and children. She has also co-authored (with focus on neuroscience content) a mindfulness and well-being curriculum called The Present Course for Primary Schools. Dusana authored two peer-reviewed books: Mind, Brain and the Path to Happiness (Routledge, 2013) andNeuroscience and Psychology of Meditation in Everyday Life (Routledge, 2017). Dusana has been regularly practicing meditation since 2000 with a particular focus on Dzogchen and has been teaching meditation since 2005.
Dusana is a member of the CCE - Research group.

Kevin Hawkins, Spain

Kevin Hawkins has worked with adolescents and young people in various contexts for over 30 years - as teacher, school head, and social worker in the UK, Africa, and Europe. Until recently he lived in the Czech Republic where for 10 years he was Middle School Principal at the International School of Prague. Kevin trained in mindfulness in Europe and the USA with Mark Williams (Oxford Mindfulness Centre), Jon Kabat-Zinn, Saki Santorelli and Florence Meleo-Meyer (UMass Medical School, Centre for Mindfulness), and with Dr. Amy Saltzman (Still Quiet Place) and he has taught mindfulness to students, teachers and parents since 2008.

In 2012 he co-founded MindWell, which supports educational communities around the world in developing wellbeing through mindfulness and social-emotional learning. Kevin is a Senior Trainer for the Mindfulness in Schools Project (UK); a facilitator of the evidence-based CARE program (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Educators); and he has worked as lead consultant to the International Baccalaureate Organisation on SEL and mindfulness. Kevin is a regular speaker, writer and presenter on the topics of mindfulness and social and emotional learning in education. His first book, Mindful Teacher, Mindful School: Improving wellbeingin teaching and learning, was published by SAGE in July 2017.
Kevin is a member of the CCE - Teacher Education group.

Guy Claxton, United Kingdom

Guy Claxton is a cognitive scientist with a special interest in the expansion of non-intellectual forms of intelligence. His books on the subject include Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind: Why Intelligence Increases When You Think Less; The Wayward Mind: An Intimate History of the Unconscious; and Intelligence in the Flesh: Why Your Mind Needs Your Body Much More Than It Thinks.

Much of his professional life has been spent trying to improve the quality education, so that it equips young people with minds fit for 21st century life. His education books include Building Learning Power; What's the Point of School?; New Kinds of Smart: How the Science of Learnable Intelligence is Changing Education (with Bill Lucas); and The Learning Power Approach.

Guy was a founding faculty member of Schumacher College, and the Sharpham Institute of Buddhist Studies, both in Devon, England. He has studied in the Tibetan, Theravadan and Zen traditions of Buddhism. He is currently Visiting Professor of Education at King's College London. Guy attended the inaugural meeting of the CCE in Rotterdam and has been a keen supporter and informal advisor to the CCE since then.