TOWARDS COMPASSION BASED TEACHING  
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English
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Profile

Languages understood:

Dutch, English, German

With which level of education are you involved?

University

What discipline do you teach (mainly)?

Law

Does your school, college or faculty teach for a specific discipline or is the education more general?

Professional education

For what type of profession are your students being educated?

Law graduates end up in many different professions; typically legal profession, such as judge, lawyer, public notary, but also at universities, businesses, the government, (international) organizations.

Are you yourself working with pupils/students or are you otherwise involved in education, (e.g. educational policy)?

(mainly) teaching pupils/students

What kind of organisational relation do you have with your educational work?

(mainly) professional / important source of income

How many years is it since you first started your efforts to integrate mindfulness into your educational work?

4

On average, what age are the pupils/students with who you are working?

20-25

Can you describe briefly what you are doing with your pupils/students to integrate mindfulness in your educational work?

'I am hesitant to incorporate the buddhist (or Plum Village) meaning of mindfulness as such in my educational work. I do not want to "impose" my personal idea's, life style or beliefs on my students (being grown up, university students pursuing a professional education), with whom I primarily have a professional relation. In general I therefor do not explicitly refer to buddhism or buddhist rituals. However, I try to approach my work, my responsibilities as a (law) lecturer and my students in a mindful way. I often teach and supervise students from all over the world (in the context of international law programs) and especially their different backgrounds, cultures, religions and also levels of knowledge and development taught me how extremely important it is to, on the one hand, respect these differences and to be sensitive for their varying needs and, on the other hand, to treat everyone equally as human being.

The core of my approach (or at least what I try to do) could maybe be described as personal attention, careful listening, (positive) feedback, encouragement, respect for certain shortcomings, stimulation of (professional and personal) growth and when necessary putting the importance of "success" (i.e. getting high grades) in perspective.

What is it that would be most helpful to you to (further) improve your work with integrating mindfulness in your educational work, besides deepening your own practice?

Exchange of ideas with other lecturers, and to learn more about mindful teaching from existing projects.

Have you noticed or heard of any changes in the behaviour of your pupils/students?

Yes

What is the nature of the changes you have noticed in the behaviour of your pupils/students?

Better (school) grades, improved class room behaviour, improved behaviour outside the school environment.
I have noticed that my (hopefully mindful) approach of students has a good impact on the whole class. Students are more open, even the more quiet or shy students dare to speak in class and if I encourage them to work together and to share knowledge and experience, they are more prepared to do that. Also students, sometimes years after their graduation, express their appreciation. For example a short while ago a recently graduated student, after returning to her home country, wrote "I would like to thank you for everything (...) I hope to do better in future, in my working life, in my daily life, so I can be a better person and a better lawyer". These might be fruits of mindfulness.

What is the base of the mindfulness practise you are using in your educational work?

Partly buddhist, partly secular