For the Love of Learning – Mindfulness in Education – #46

For the Love of Learning Episode 46



Show Title:

For the Love of Learning Episode 46

Mindfulness in Education

Monday January 11, 2015  8:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST
Tuesday January 12, 2015 1:00 am – 3:00 am GMT


Amy Edelstein
Betsy Hanger
Kathryn Byrnes

First, we must ask, what is mindfulness?

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the biologist who first coined the term “mindfulness” in the ’70s, defines it as a state of mind: the act of “paying attention on purpose” to the present moment, with a “non-judgmental” attitude. But mindfulness is really a secular philosophy and set of techniques adapted from thousands-of-years-old Buddhist meditation traditions—ones that only recently landed in mainstream Western consciousness.

There is a growing body of scientific research which illustrates the positive effects of mindfulness in education, including improved attention, reduced stress and better emotional regulation with an improved capacity for compassion and empathy. In addition, practice of long-term mindfulness has shown that it promotes the thickening of the cortical regions related to attention and sensory processing and has been considered beneficial for children and adolescents faced with anxiety and even ADHD.

Educators who utilize mindfulness in education have found that that it fosters greater concentration, heightens understanding, promotes learning, and a creates a more peaceful and happier student.

In contrast to the U.S. education system’s focus on quantifiable cognitive intelligence, mindfulness promotes a type of intelligence of the mind that is difficult to quantify: It is the foundation of good character, resilience, and long-term life fulfillment. It is this part of the mind that mindfulness seeks to address. We have a lot to talk about tonight.

Amy Edelstein

amyAmy Edelstein, educator, author, and public speaker is a powerful communicator of ideas and beliefs that can help us transform ourselves and the culture we live in. Amy is founder of the Inner Strength Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports youth development. Its flagship 3-month program, Mindfulness & Cultural Development, is reaching 800 inner city high school students this school year. Based in Philadelphia, the program includes an innovative training for adolescents that combines mindfulness with a developmental perspective. Currently the subject of a research study by the Department of Public Health, Syracuse University, this program is committed to long-term change and evidence-based results.

Amy has thirty years experience of contemplative practice, including a background in both Western and Eastern spiritual traditions, as well as in evolutionary spirituality, a contemporary philosophical perspective that connects individual transformation with a deep sense of responsibility for our collective future. In recognition of her 27 years of in depth work on contemporary spiritual transformation, collective emergence, and postmodern cultural development, Amy was named Wisdom Chair of Evolutionary Spirituality by the interfaith organization OUnI and also received ordination as the first interfaith minister of Evolutionary Spirituality from the American Council of Interfaith Churches. Amy is the author of three books, Love, Marriage & Evolution, Great Awakenings: Radical Visions of Spiritual Love & Evolution, and Mindfulness & Cultural Development Teacher’s Manual. She is currently working on her first book of poems entitled We All Come from Somewhere.


Betsy Hanger

Betsy Hanger thumbnailAfter thirty years teaching music in Los Angeles, Betsy Hanger completed the Mindful Schools Year-Long Certification in 2014. A community mentor, Betsy teaches mindfulness to classroom groups in the Los Angeles Unified School District (over 1,400 students to date), and brings workshops to graduate students, GATE parents, independent school divisions, and early childhood specialists. Betsy works as a social media specialist with Her chapter on working skillfully with diverse youth is featured in Teaching Mindfulness Skills to Kids and Teens (Guilford Press, September, 2015); she will present on this topic with Mindful School colleagues at the “Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth” conference at UCSD at the end of February, 2016. In addition, she will travel to the East Coast to represent Mindful Schools on a panel for Teach For America’s 25th Anniversary convention, and discuss her work at Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater.


Kathryn Byrnes

KathrynKathryn is the Board President of the Mindfulness in Education Network. ( She works with faculty and staff at institutions of higher education, undergraduate and graduate teacher education students, and PK-12 educators to integrate mindfulness practices and principles into their teaching and learning. Her research focuses on contemplative pedagogy in higher education and PK-12 education and has been published in several journals and edited books. She taught Education and Mindfulness courses at Bowdoin College, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Colorado College and earned her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She served as the Education Program Officer at the Mind & Life Institute developing a “Call to Care” program for educators and students, worked as a Curriculum Coordinator at a contemplative K-5 elementary school, trained as a facilitator for the Cultivating Emotional Balance project, taught high school Psychology, and is a certified yoga instructor.




Lainie Liberti

As always, you can find out more about your host, Lainie Liberti at her website and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teenage son at: You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.

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