This dissertation explored how participants' meditation practice and participation in a teacher-training program affected their ability to embody and teach mindfulness. Six participants from the American Vipassana tradition were interviewed. All had at least 10 years of meditative practice, working with both Buddhist and nonBuddhist teachers.
Participants described their own meditation practice as the ground out of which all other aspects of teacher training arose. A key aspect of this training was their experience on retreats of 7 days or more. All believed longer retreats were vital to their experiencing subtler levels of concentration and insights, which made them more confident as Buddhist teachers. All participants also described the importance of working with experienced teachers who offered aid when they became stuck, lent confidence, and modeled fundamental aspects of the Buddhist path through their actions. Watching teachers work with students also helped participants learn more effective ways to aid their own students and develop their own style of teaching.
Participants reported that experientially testing out theories within Buddhist philosophy and seeing their validity facilitated their confidence. This confidence seemed to increase their ability to be vulnerable, to take interest in their students' progress, to teach from direct experience, to feel less self-consciousness when teaching, and to trust themselves even when experiencing tumultuous feelings.
Institutional oversight, self-monitoring, and team teaching were seen as ways to promote competence. Factors that improved communication within teams included openness to feedback and the head teacher leading by example. Participants all developed different strategies to work more effectively with their audience. They emphasized the importance of considering age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, geography and educational level when teaching. Participants also discussed the importance of using intuition to tune into each unique group they taught. Lastly, participants cited the importance of regular formal meditation and of integrating mindfulness as fully into their lives as possible as components to effective teaching.
|School:||Alliant International University, San Francisco Bay|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 72/04, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Teacher education, Clinical psychology|
|Keywords:||Buddhism, Meditation, Mindfulness, Psychotherapists|
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