Teachers College Columbia University

Mindfulness Leadership Retreat: Self Awareness Training Institute for School Leaders

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About the course

Mindfulness has recently picked up steam in the world of education, as recent empirical research has made it impossible to deny the connections between mind and science, emotions and behaviors, development and capacity. The findings support what many have known for years - that Mindfulness practice has significant benefits for its practitioners. Further, many of these benefits have direct relevance to leadership efficacy. Through the deliberate practice of Mindfulness itself, leaders elevate their capacity to lead with compassion, empathy, resilience, focus, clarity, and adaptability, all crucial skills needed in today’s complex landscape of education.

The overarching purpose of this retreat is to provide space for school leaders to:

  • Cultivate their capacity for self-awareness, a skill essential to enlightened leadership.
  • Develop self-awareness as a means to recognize sensations, emotions, and cognition as distinct but intimately related experiences.
  • Build skills to increase concentration, empathic capacities, skillful listening, management of conflicts, perspective taking, and being present to the complex demands placed on leaders in educational systems.

This 10-hour Institute is designed to support school leaders interested in developing their own mindfulness practices as it relates to their leadership in education. The institute builds off of the Self-Awareness Training (SAT) offered to graduate students in the Summer Principals Academy (SPA) at Teachers College, and as such will be a great opportunity for alumni of the program, and colleagues currently serving in school leadership positions, to deepen their own Mindfulness practices. Facilitation will include reintroduction of SAT and Mindfulness practices to re-energize and rejuvenate mind, body, and spirit.

The retreat is also designed into three modules that build upon each other and can also be taken individually as separate modules. The modules will deepen school leaders’ understanding of key concepts around self-awareness and compassion as it relates to their leadership presence and allow them to draw connections between their practice and their work in schools.

Learning Objectives and Outcomes

Through this program, school and district leaders will:

  • Deepen connection to core principles and practices of Mindfulness that support a leader's emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and resilience
  • Learn best practices around leading and facilitating Mindfulness practices for the teams, teachers, and parents they serve
  • Connect with like-minded educational leaders to explore points of intersection, opportunities for collaboration, or initiate new ventures
  • Elevate connections to their inner wisdom, intuition, and emotions, expanding a leader’s capacity for empathy, perspective taking, and complex problem solving
  • Refresh and rejuvenate leadership purpose and presence and increase capacity to focus and prioritize

Schedule

Module #1: Mindfulness Practice as a Tool for Emotional Intelligence Participants will dive into Self Awareness Trainings that enhance leadership presence and strengthen the leader’s capacity to prioritize, focus, and establish greater emotional fitness and regulation. Through mindfulness practices such as - anchoring in the breath, setting intention, and body scanning - participants will deepen both their theoretical and experiential understanding of how practice leads to greater awareness and emotional intelligence, impacting leadership efficacy and presence for those they serve and for those they lead.

Module #2: Compassion as an Imperative for Mindful Leadership Participants will explore Loving-Kindness and Compassion practices that will deepen their connection to inner wisdom, intuition and feelings. Leaders will gain theoretical and experiential understanding of how compassion practices develop empathy for themselves and those they lead, broaden their ability to take in diverse perspectives, improving communication collaboration, and critical thinking for adaptive problem solving. In addition, participants will develop an understanding of how self-compassion practice strengthens leadership resiliency, prevents burnout, and creates more agility in decision making.

Module #3: Applications for Mindful Leadership in School Settings Participants will dive into hands-on facilitation practice for leading mindfulness practices in their school settings. This hands-on facilitation provides participants with turn-key practices that tap into the power of intention setting, emotional awareness and regulation, and finding calm and peace by anchoring in the breath. All participants will walk away having learned a three-minute MindKindness Meeting Technique that enables them to begin implementing Mindfulness practices with ease and confidence.

Who should attend

This program is designed for any educational leader looking to discover and deepen their own mindfulness practice and develop an understanding of how Mindfulness will support their leadership development. The retreat was originally designed for alumni of the Summer Principals Academy (SPA), and their invited colleagues and friends, as a continuing support for their Self-Awareness Training. However, this retreat is appropriate to any leader looking to explore Mindfulness for the first time, or those with a basic understanding of the practice, as well as any leaders with a consistent Mindfulness practice. All educational leaders, with any level of practice or Mindfulness knowledge, will benefit from this retreat.

Trust the experts

Home Nguyen

Dr. Home H.C. Nguyen is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of adult learning and leadership, and an advisor and coach to senior executives, entrepreneurs, and educators. He coaches mid-level and C-suite executives of Fortune 200 companies including Google, Amazon, LinkedIn, and numerous start-ups. He...

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Colleen Lowry

Colleen Lowry is an educator dedicated to raising consciousness and cultivating mindfulness for those who are serving and leading in the education sector. She has 10 plus years’ experience in urban public education, including leading school redesign, developing strong and cohesive instructional l...

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