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Happy Teachers Change the World: A Guide for Cultivating Mindfulness in Education

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Happy Teachers Change the World is the first official, authoritative manual of the Thich Nhat Hanh/Plum Village approach to mindfulness in education. Spanning the whole range of schools and grade levels, from preschool through higher education, these techniques are grounded in the everyday world of schools, colleges, and universities. Beginning firmly with teachers and all Happy Teachers Change the World is the first official, authoritative manual of the Thich Nhat Hanh/Plum Village approach to mindfulness in education. Spanning the whole range of schools and grade levels, from preschool through higher education, these techniques are grounded in the everyday world of schools, colleges, and universities. Beginning firmly with teachers and all those working with students, including administrators, counselors, and other personnel, the Plum Village approach stresses that educators must first establish their own mindfulness practice since everything they do in the classroom will be based on that foundation. The book includes easy-to-follow, step-by-step techniques perfected by educators to teach themselves and to apply to their work with students and colleagues, along with inspirational stories of the ways in which teachers have made mindfulness practice alive and relevant for themselves and their students across the school and out into the community. The instructions in Happy Teachers Change the World are offered as basic practices taught by Thich Nhat Hanh, followed by guidance from educators using these practices in their classrooms, with ample in-class interpretations, activities, tips, and instructions. Woven throughout are stories from members of the Plum Village community around the world who are applying these teachings in their own lives and educational contexts.


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Happy Teachers Change the World is the first official, authoritative manual of the Thich Nhat Hanh/Plum Village approach to mindfulness in education. Spanning the whole range of schools and grade levels, from preschool through higher education, these techniques are grounded in the everyday world of schools, colleges, and universities. Beginning firmly with teachers and all Happy Teachers Change the World is the first official, authoritative manual of the Thich Nhat Hanh/Plum Village approach to mindfulness in education. Spanning the whole range of schools and grade levels, from preschool through higher education, these techniques are grounded in the everyday world of schools, colleges, and universities. Beginning firmly with teachers and all those working with students, including administrators, counselors, and other personnel, the Plum Village approach stresses that educators must first establish their own mindfulness practice since everything they do in the classroom will be based on that foundation. The book includes easy-to-follow, step-by-step techniques perfected by educators to teach themselves and to apply to their work with students and colleagues, along with inspirational stories of the ways in which teachers have made mindfulness practice alive and relevant for themselves and their students across the school and out into the community. The instructions in Happy Teachers Change the World are offered as basic practices taught by Thich Nhat Hanh, followed by guidance from educators using these practices in their classrooms, with ample in-class interpretations, activities, tips, and instructions. Woven throughout are stories from members of the Plum Village community around the world who are applying these teachings in their own lives and educational contexts.

30 review for Happy Teachers Change the World: A Guide for Cultivating Mindfulness in Education

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    The author has practiced mindfulness since the 1980s and is world renown. I liked this book, but I liked the set-up of a similar book Teaching Kids to Thrive better because it offered more specific strategies and activities. This is more of an overview of mindfulness and how it has been used for the past 30+ years. There are activities, but not as many as the other book offers. This feels more like a lecture (not a boring or bad one) than a workshop, but the author's Wake Up Schools program is s The author has practiced mindfulness since the 1980s and is world renown. I liked this book, but I liked the set-up of a similar book Teaching Kids to Thrive better because it offered more specific strategies and activities. This is more of an overview of mindfulness and how it has been used for the past 30+ years. There are activities, but not as many as the other book offers. This feels more like a lecture (not a boring or bad one) than a workshop, but the author's Wake Up Schools program is something we should all explore. Some takeaways • mindfulness is a path, not a tool • we need to cultivate happiness to alleviate suffering • it's all about neuroscience and the impact on the brain • just breath! Yep, learning to take 1- 2 minutes to focus on breathing really does work • we need to take care of our emotions • we need to develop deep listening (not listening so we can then be heard) • we need to build a community • we need to recognize this is part of our everyday lives (stop thinking there isn't enough time for it) and not just something we do for school • we need to relate this to student behavior • there are many connections to academics/subject areas - arts, physical education, science, Specific topics offered • learning how to relax • learning how to be truly present and mindful • learning how to concentrate • learning how to cultivate compassion • learning how to practice loving speech and deep listening It's really all about promoting an atmosphere of concentration and social emotional learning for our students. But guess what? The author clearly and repeatedly states we must support teachers' mindfulness and well-being. We must begin with ourselves, focus on ourselves first, so we can then help others. What?! Focusing on ourselves first when we are always putting others ahead of us in the educational world. What a novel idea!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I'm sure this book could be great for other teachers. This book is not for the kinds of students I teach, so that coloured my reading of it. Working with students with trauma, you could not sit in a circle and discuss their suffering. It wouldn't work. (Disclaimer: I didn't finish the book either - it's holidays and there are too many other amazing books to read). I'm sure this book could be great for other teachers. This book is not for the kinds of students I teach, so that coloured my reading of it. Working with students with trauma, you could not sit in a circle and discuss their suffering. It wouldn't work. (Disclaimer: I didn't finish the book either - it's holidays and there are too many other amazing books to read).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Thao Phuong

    Thich Nhat Hanh offered a very detailed guide on how to practice mindfulness and specific activities one can follow. The organization of the book is also logical as it begins with individual practice and gradually expands to classroom and community practice. The book was indeed gleam of sunshine during my stressful teaching day, a gentle reminder that teachers need to take care of her inner peace alongside with fulfilling teaching duties

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This book was brought to our staff's attention by a colleague, and our administration purchased several copies for our staff to read together. This past year was my worst year in teaching, and it was difficult for me to stay positive given the high needs in my class, in addition to some tragedy that our school as a whole experienced. It was very hard for all of us, so this book seemed to be presented at the most opportune time. I was very open to the "teachings" in this book, and now that I am f This book was brought to our staff's attention by a colleague, and our administration purchased several copies for our staff to read together. This past year was my worst year in teaching, and it was difficult for me to stay positive given the high needs in my class, in addition to some tragedy that our school as a whole experienced. It was very hard for all of us, so this book seemed to be presented at the most opportune time. I was very open to the "teachings" in this book, and now that I am finished reading it, I let myself consider over several days the things I liked and those I did not. I really liked the reflections from teachers all over the world on how they incorporated mindfulness into their practice. I also liked the lessons on mindfulness, from the breathing to mindful walking. These ideas are good, and ones that I will try to incorporate into my classroom. The overall message is that we must first be mindful ourselves, before we can help others. I didn't like the repetitive nature of the book. I felt as though he could have introduced mindful breathing, walking, listening, sitting etc... as one, rather than having a chapter for each. It seemed like they were trying to fill the pages of the book, so just kept reiterating the same things over and over. Despite the repetitive nature, it is worth the read to pick up on some valuable ideas on how to incorporate mindfulness not only in your personal life, but that of your classroom and school community as well.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Gleened a little out of this, but was hoping for something a little more basic for those with less experience with the practice of mindfulness. A lot of the book seemed to be trying to sell me on the idea of mindfulness, but since I was reading the book I didn't really need that. I found the Mindfulness Gamea Activity Cards far more helpful for the way to integrate mindfulness into my classroom. This did help with learning more in regards to the concept of mindfulness. Gleened a little out of this, but was hoping for something a little more basic for those with less experience with the practice of mindfulness. A lot of the book seemed to be trying to sell me on the idea of mindfulness, but since I was reading the book I didn't really need that. I found the Mindfulness Gamea Activity Cards far more helpful for the way to integrate mindfulness into my classroom. This did help with learning more in regards to the concept of mindfulness.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    As a teacher, the explanations and step by step processes of mindfulness practices in the classroom (with rationale tied to student learning and well-being!) were all great resources! I’ve already implemented some of the practices and they’ve helped to ground students and prepare themselves for their next task. I highly recommend this book to teachers/leaders looking to build mindfulness habits in their classroom/school!

  7. 4 out of 5

    kajjali

    I’ve never read such bullsh*t before. Don’t recommend it at all. Waste of time and money.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Becky Shattuck

    There were aspects of this book I really liked but others I really didn't. The better parts included ideas for caring for students' whole self (including emotional well-being and body/health). There's value in slowing down and responding to our present environment. I especially appreciated the sections on having compassion and love for our students and working through difficult problems with them. On the flip side, the book was a little too spiritual for me, and it also got a bit corny and repet There were aspects of this book I really liked but others I really didn't. The better parts included ideas for caring for students' whole self (including emotional well-being and body/health). There's value in slowing down and responding to our present environment. I especially appreciated the sections on having compassion and love for our students and working through difficult problems with them. On the flip side, the book was a little too spiritual for me, and it also got a bit corny and repetitive.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Megan Starr

    Was worth a read. I don't have an opinion. Had pros and cons. I'm glad I read it. Was worth a read. I don't have an opinion. Had pros and cons. I'm glad I read it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steph Johnson

    I have attended many mindfulness PDs (it's all the rage in elementary!) over the last few years and the focus is always on students. What I like most about this book is that the authors address the daily stresses and abuses put on teachers. They suggest how to meet them with mindfulness. It gives many scenarios (difficult parents, difficult admin, abusive students, stress from keeping up with curriculum pacing, compassion fatigue, helplessness when trying to help students who are suffering due t I have attended many mindfulness PDs (it's all the rage in elementary!) over the last few years and the focus is always on students. What I like most about this book is that the authors address the daily stresses and abuses put on teachers. They suggest how to meet them with mindfulness. It gives many scenarios (difficult parents, difficult admin, abusive students, stress from keeping up with curriculum pacing, compassion fatigue, helplessness when trying to help students who are suffering due to circumstances outside of their control, co-workers, etc). It acknowledges most people become teachers to help others. Thus, teachers must heal themselves before moving forwards to help students. Then, it offers many ways to incorporate mindfulness in the classroom. In the west, there is a lot of talk about using mindfulness as a way to be more productive, curb behavior, or some other outcome (often a monetized outcome). This book addresses that too. It emphasizes how mindfulness is a way and should not be a path towards an outcome. Once you are looking for an outcome, you cease being mindful.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Merin

    As someone who's wanting to incorporate mindfulness into my classroom, this book is extremely helpful. It has lessons you can use with your students, and a lot of practical advice from other educators who have worked to teach their own students about the practice. I like the step-by-step instructions included with the plans, and the list of resources at the back. I'm definitely going to be referring back throughout the upcoming school year! As someone who's wanting to incorporate mindfulness into my classroom, this book is extremely helpful. It has lessons you can use with your students, and a lot of practical advice from other educators who have worked to teach their own students about the practice. I like the step-by-step instructions included with the plans, and the list of resources at the back. I'm definitely going to be referring back throughout the upcoming school year!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Vladimiro Sousa

    I like books about meditation that talk about experience and cases that happen to people. I do “integrated” many of these teachings and find many times that I already do them one way or another. Part of me could do these actions in a more consistent and discipline way. I would even concede that it would bring me more happiness and joyfulness. Part of me. The other part feels that “more happiness” and “joyfulness” and “peace” is not necessarily better.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This guide has a great mix of practical, easy to use instructional guides mixed with Thay's lyrical prose and teachings. It is all based on the Plum Village model and emphasizes the point that any leader of mindfulness must first and foremost be a practitioner, a fact often lost in many of the models of SEL and mindfulness we see implemented in western schools. This guide has a great mix of practical, easy to use instructional guides mixed with Thay's lyrical prose and teachings. It is all based on the Plum Village model and emphasizes the point that any leader of mindfulness must first and foremost be a practitioner, a fact often lost in many of the models of SEL and mindfulness we see implemented in western schools.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chalida

    It is hard to read a text book in your spare time even as much as I love Thich Nhat Hanh. But there are instructions for educators to start incorporating mindfulness in themselves and ultimately take some of these practices into their classrooms. Lots of simple practices and good reminders for life and finding peace within. Fun to practice with book club.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This is not the book for teachers looking for practical advice or for those without a background in Buddhism. There is the constant assumption of background knowledge that I did not have. It was also a more philosophical text focused on pondering big topics like the meaning of suffering and happiness than providing any details on application.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Bachman

    I am particularly moved by the breadth of teacher contributions to the book. It gives a deep sense of how practical and relevant these teachings are, and how profoundly they can transform both teacher and student.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    An interesting book that provides more in depth explanations of mindfulness interspersed with testimonies and practices. Some items seemed more geared towards younger students versus high schoolers (what I teach).

  18. 5 out of 5

    juan quintero

    Good practical book Enjoyed that the content and practices to the plum village tradition. The book has meditation practices along with reflection questions to assist the teacher and student along the path of meditation.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brittney

    I really wanted to like this book and find good information on ways to implement mindfulness in my classroom. While I did find somethings that I will use or some things that sparked my own ideas, most of this book contained lessons and practices of mindfulness in an idealistic classroom.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kenley Neufeld

    Excellent handbook and guide for mindfulness practice both for ourselves and in the classroom.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pro Mukherjee

    Lot of practical tools in an easy to use format. Backed by an authentic practice.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    A good introduction into mindfulness in education, but I didn't pick up any new tricks like I thought I would have. This is for teachers with minimal awareness of mindful teaching practices. A good introduction into mindfulness in education, but I didn't pick up any new tricks like I thought I would have. This is for teachers with minimal awareness of mindful teaching practices.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    Great book for teachers who want ideas on how to teach mindfulness in their classrooms!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emilie

    While I'm not yet sure which of these techniques I could apply in my teaching practice (in higher ed), I appreciated the chance to learn more about mindfulness--especially mindful walking. While I'm not yet sure which of these techniques I could apply in my teaching practice (in higher ed), I appreciated the chance to learn more about mindfulness--especially mindful walking.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Practical and useful for educators. Simple enough to learn and put into practice.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marcie Marzullo-Bertelsman

    Not what I was thinking. Too many pages for what it was trying to convey.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ann Viveros

    excellent book for educators

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Very interesting- a lot of food for thought. I will definitely be referring back to this throughout the school year.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Read as part of a school book club. Not my thing but that doesn't mean it was bad. I found a few things useful to hear but overall it was outside of my comfort zone. Read as part of a school book club. Not my thing but that doesn't mean it was bad. I found a few things useful to hear but overall it was outside of my comfort zone.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jenni

    I only read two chapters. Not for me.

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