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Stressreduktion- und Prävention durch Achtsamkeitstraining
Start date: 04 Jul 2016, End date: 03 Jul 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Mindfulness for teachers – a four-day training in BerlinTeachers are facing a challenging professional environment every day. They have to work with the needs and requirements of others all the time – while simultaneously managing, enabling and supporting collaborative learning processes and everyday life in school, often with a small time budget and a high level of noise. Especially beginners, people with a different professional background and those who are very committed to their tasks, are at risk of exceeding their own personal limitations and of falling ill. Motivation and joy are often lost when the stress level gets too high and breaks don’t have enough of a recuperative effect. For teachers, learning the skills and tools associated with mindfulness can be an effective burn-out prevention. It can sustain the joy of teaching and foster positive relationships as a basis for learning and living together in everyday school life.Based on recent scientific findings about stress in the teaching professions and the effectiveness of mindfulness training for stress management, this training will give teachers the tools for more resilience (the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties) and help them stay healthy, balanced, motivated and content in their professional lives. Mindful teachers are more likely to notice their own feelings and assessments and to check whether they are reacting appropriately in any given situation. They pay attention to the space they hold for their students, while they develop an awareness of their actions and thoughts. Mindful teachers will nurture a positive relationship and culture, because they know that this is fundamental to learning.The participants will be teachers from the secondary school of the Royal Athaeneum in St. Vith. They will participate in groups of their original staff set-up, so the training will also help the team grow together. They will go through a four-day intensive training guided by an experienced mindfulness instructor. The training will cover theory and practical aspects of mindfulness. The participants will learn basic guided meditations while sitting, lying down and walking and will also receive instructions on how to integrate mindfulness into their daily lives. To support this integration, they are provided information about core subjects like stress management, managing strong emotions, mindful communication, mindful awareness of the body and relaxation. To provide a clear understanding of these aspects of mindfulness and heighten sensitivity to them also with a focus on personal relevance, there will always be periods of exchange and reflection within the group, a part of the group or individually. The participants will receive the instructions as audio files so they can deepen their practice independently, as well as further audio material about mindfulness, literature recommendations and a comprehensive handout for reference and consolidation. The participants will benefit from the exchange within the group and additionally there will be a meeting with local teachers at the end of the workshop. The local teachers are already experienced in mindfulness practice and have integrated it successfully into their daily lives.Mindfulness has a lot to do with perceiving an inner freedom. “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” (Viktor Frankl) The mindfulness exercises enable every one who practices them to be more aware of their inner freedom and to use it effectively. This way, challenges can be faced with more serenity and personal resources are managed more sensibly. The participants will get to know this freedom better and improve their ability to self-regulate and reduce stress. They will practice self compassion and in doing so they will learn to sustain their physical and mental health.The training for teachers is a training for life itself. It not only has a positive impact on the teachers themselves, it also affects their students, the students’ parents and the teaching staff. People who practice mindfulness improve their interpersonal skills and thus will automatically introduce these new skills into all their social networks. A longterm benefit will be achieved as well, because this professional training program will contribute to the sustainability of the EU project “Sunflower”, when in the school year 2018/2019 the first pupils finishing the three-year project will attend secondary school and start learning with teachers who can help them deepen their practice in mindfulness.
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