Field Leadership

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The Contemplative Teaching and Learning Field Development program seeks to produce positive change in American public schools by promoting the development, testing and use of contemplative or mindfulness-based approaches for teachers and students. It seeks to do so through research partnerships with scientists, educators and other experts, advocacy, and dissemination of information. The goal involves two objectives:

  1. To promote cross-fertilization of ideas, and initiate and participate in research partnerships, and

  2. To engage in dissemination and advocacy activities

i. Promote cross-fertilization of ideas, and initiate and participate in research partnerships among scientists and other experts in the fields of education, psychology, human development and neuroscience to explore developmentally appropriate ways to employ contemplative or mindfulness-based approaches in school settings. To accomplish this goal, we convene multidisciplinary forums to bring together leading researchers and educators, disseminate information about research, promote partnerships, and collaborate with researchers to develop evidence-based programs for applying contemplative approaches to teacher education. 

II. Engage in dissemination and advocacy activities leading to the increased introduction, use and institutionalization of awareness and concentration techniques among teachers and children in school settings and to their integration within the broader educational and scientific communities. We develop strategic partnerships with like-minded institutions to expand and develop the field; present research findings broadly through conferences, articles and books reporting our results and developments in the field. See our list of partnerships and like-minded organizations.

Upcoming Symposia and Forums:

Mindfulness in Education: Cultivating the Social and Emotional Competencies of Educators. November 2013. This symposium will explore how, within the formal systems of educator training, contemplative practices can cultivate the social, emotional and cognitive competencies of educators to ensure personal wellbeing, professional efficacy and their ability to promote positive school cultures. The program will engage participants in focused, dialogue that is facilitated to provoke free interchange of ideas, opinions and expertise supported by periods of contemplative practice. Patricia (Tish) Jennings will be offering a keynote address entitled “Mindful Awareness & Education in the 21st Century." Learn more about the 2013 CTL symposium here.

Symposia and Forums to date:

  • The Art and Science of Contemplative Teaching and Learning: Exploring Ways of Knowing. This symposium explored a range of approaches towards supporting the development of attention, insight, emotional self- regulation, empathy, compassion and action. Interactive workshops allowed participants to explore contemplative education through mindfulness, yoga, indigenous ways of knowing, dance, storytelling, poetry, music and drawing. Participants engaged in dialogue and sharing experiences in an attempt to re-imagine classrooms as spaces that attend to diverse ways of knowing, multiculturalism and social justice. November 2012 Watch presentations from this symposium here.
  • Advancing the Science and Practice of Contemplative Education. This symposium brought together teachers, school administrators, health professionals, academics, researchers, policymakers and the media to discuss the principles of contemplative education and the benefits of introducing it into the mainstream. Dr. Mark Greenberg, Director of the Prevention Research Center at Penn State University and a leader in the field of Social and Emotional Learning, delivered the keynote address. Other speakers and panelists included Adele Diamond, Susan Kaiser-Greenland, Linda Lantieri, and Myla Kabat-Zinn. November 2011. Watch presentations from this symposium here.
  • Mindful Teaching: Conceptualization and Measurement. Chaired by Dr. Bridget Hamre, Dr. Mark Greenberg and initiative director Dr. Patricia Jennings. Identified strategies to observe and measure mindful behavior among teachers. The forum gathered 20 distinguished scientists and educators to the Garrison Institute for cross-disciplinary idea exchange that considered these issues with a particular focus on professional development for educators. April 2011.
  • Mindful Parenting: Conceptualization and MeasurementIn collaboration with the Kirlin Charitable Foundation, brought together researchers, clinicians and others interested in and working with family intervention programs. The aim of the meeting was to address measurement issues around the topics of mindful parenting and reflective functioning in parenting, in order to develop effective measurement systems for use in research. September 2010. Read the full report here. icon Download pdf.
  • Exploring Methodological Issues in Contemplative Education Research: A Focus on Teachers. Chaired by Dr. Mark Greenberg and initiative Director Dr. Patricia Jennings. A group of 13 scientists and educators who are studying the effects of interventions on teachers' well-being, attentional skills, emotion regulation, and classroom climate convened to discuss measurement issues and to create a compendium of assessments that can be used across studies. Feburary 2009. 
  • Envisioning the Future of Contemplative Education. Co-Chaired by Dr. Mark Greenberg and Garrison Senior Fellow David Rome. Twenty-three leaders in philanthropy, education, and developmental science convened for dialogue on growing the field of contemplative education and strategies for impacting educational reform. October 2008. Read the full report hereicon Download pdf.
  • Developmental Issues in Contemplative Education Symposium. A meeting of education professionals, scientists, and other interested participants addressing developmental issues in contemplative education with a focus on several forms of mindfulness training for young people across age groups and in various settings. April 2008. Read the full report here. icon Download pdf.
  • Assessment for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning with Preschool and Elementary School Children. Co-chaired by Roger Weissberg, Suzanne Denham, and Patricia Jennings, and co-sponsored by the Garrison Institute, the Fetzer Institute and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the meeting convened scholars, leaders, and funders to identify priorities for providing guidance to educators and policy makers on appropriate assessment strategies and systems in order to foster the social-emotional development and academic performance of preschool and elementary-school children. October 2007.
  • Awareness and Concentration in Teacher Professional Development. Co-Chaired by Dr. Patricia Jennings, and Dr. Julie Law and co-sponsored by the Fetzer Institute. Identified promising strategies to facilitate teacher transformative development and increase teachers' contemplative capacity to promote awareness and attention in mainstream classrooms. January 2007. Read the full report here. icon Download pdf.
  • Awareness, Concentration and Social-Emotional Learning. Co-Chaired by Dr. Robin Stern and Florence Meleo-Meyer, MS, MA, this symposium addressed the interrelationship between social and emotional learning and awareness and concentration techniques in curricular implementation at the classroom level. November 2006. Read the full report here. icon Download pdf.
  • Attention and Behavior. Co-Chaired by Dr. Mark Greenberg and Dr. Patricia Jennings. This symposium examined the relationship between attention, social interaction and emotional regulation in the context of developing effective interventions to improve children's social-emotional development. April 2006. 
  • Contemplation and Education Symposium. A meeting of 34 scientists, physicians, psychologists, educators, people providing mindfulness education programs in schools, program officers, contemplative practitioners and others working in the field of contemplation and education. April 2005.



Contemplative Teaching and Learning