NIE Talk: The Mindful Teacher by Dennis Shirley

NIE Talk: The Mindful Teacher by Dennis Shirley

Date & Time

01 September 2010, 00:00




Learning Sciences Lab (LSL)
Office of Education Research (OER)
Office of Teacher Education (OTE)



Events Details

1 September 2010 | 3:30-5:00 | NIE LT6 (located at NIE Block 2)

NIE’s Office of Teacher Education & the Asia-Pacific Educational Research Association are co-sponsoring a seminar on The Mindful Teacher by Professor Dennis Shirley of the Lynch School of Education at Boston College.

Educators across the globe are living in the midst of a policy epidemic of reforms that hold enormous promise as well as hidden costs. The temptation to solve complex problems through mandates and prescriptions lures reformers eager for quick victories but when overly indulged leaves educators in the role of passive implementers of others’ ideas. Yet teachers above all need activity settings that allow them to cultivate mindfulness, defined here as attunement to the present moment, awareness of a broad range of professional practices, and openness to multiple points of view. To identify the problems that emerge in their classrooms, explore potential solutions, and assess their consequences educators need professional learning communities of peers with high levels of expertise, an ethic of care, and respect for the evidence of emerging practice.
  • Identify patterns of defensiveness and isolation that prevent educators from addressing shared problems together; 
  • Develop an engaging repertoire of strategies for eliciting the most pressing and important problems of practice; 
  • Assist students with learning issues that might be most on the periphery of their awareness;
    Use formative and summative data wisely and with precision to improve pupil learning; 
  • Cultivate Mindful Teacher networks where educators embed inquiry, reflection, and adaptation into all of their ongoing professional activities. 

About Prof. Dennis Shirley 
Professor Dennis Shirley’s educational work spans from the nitty-gritty micro-level of assisting beginning teachers to the macro-level of designing and guiding large-scale research and intervention projects for school districts, states, provinces, and nonprofit agencies. Collaborating with Andy Hargreaves, Shirley recently published The Fourth Way: The Inspiring Future for Educational Change (Corwin, 2009). For five years Shirley has led a teacher inquiry project along with Boston Public Schools teacher leader Elizabeth MacDonald; their research has just appeared in The Mindful Teacher (Teachers College Press, 2009). Shirley recently has advised ministries of education in Bahrain, Japan, and South Africa; the Bosch, Freudenberg, and Heidehof foundations in Germany; a network of universities launching a new doctoral program based in south-central Chile; and the Scholars Forum of the Public Education Network, the Teachers Union Reform Network, and the Education Committee of the California State Assembly in the USA. He has led three school improvement efforts with over $13 million in funding and his research has been translated into German, Spanish, Finnish, and French. He holds a doctoral degree from Harvard University.