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Mindful : December 2018
The closest thing to a widely accepted standard for measuring mindfulness teacher competence today is the Mindfulness-Based Intervention Teaching Assess- ment Criteria, or MBI:TAC, created in 2008 by research- ers from Oxford, Exeter, and Bangor Universities in the UK. The MBI:TAC focuses on skills required to teach a class of students, measuring competence in six areas, called domains. These include: Coverage, pacing, and organization of session curriculum This domain considers how well teachers are prepared and how well they cover the curriculum content of the session, bal- ancing the needs of the individual, the group, and the requirements of teaching the course. Embodiment of mindfulness To embody a practice of mind- fulness is to bring the core attitudes of mindfulness practice—non- judging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance, and letting go—to the practice of teach- ing mindfulness. Conveying course themes through inquiry and didactic teaching This domain assesses a teacher’s skill in conveying the themes of the course interac- tively to par- ticipants, using a range of teaching approaches that make the themes come alive. Relational skills This domain addresses the interpersonal con- nection between individual partici- pants and teacher. Characteristics of a good teacher include empathy, authenticity, com- passion, warmth, curiosity, and respect, among others. Guiding mindfulness practices This domain assesses how well a teacher describes what participants are being invited to do in the practice, including all the elements required in that practice. The teacher guides students in the skills of recognizing when their minds have wandered and bringing their attention back, for example. The teacher’s language should be clear, precise, accurate, and accessible while conveying spaciousness. Holding the group learning environment A competent teacher creates a learning environ- ment that “holds” the group and within which the learning takes place. The teacher should be able to “tune in to,” connect with, and respond appropri- ately to shifts and changes in group mood and charac- teristics. Adapted from “Summary Version of the Mindfulness-based Interventions Teaching Assessment Criteria (MBI:TAC)”, Crane et al, 2016. 6 Skills to Look For in a Mindfulness Teacher ESSENTIALS 1 2 3 4 5 6 December 2018 mindful 67