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The Mindful School Leader
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The Mindful School Leader
Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School

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February 2015 | 256 pages | Corwin

Big results come from small steps.

If you think you don’t have time for mindfulness, think again. This handbook, named a Best Courageous Book of 2014 by The Center for Courage and Renewal, was written with school leaders in mind—your responsibilities, your stress, and your schedule. When you add mindfulness into your day, bit by bit, you’ll become a more effective leader and a more positive force for your staff and students.

With the help of this inspirational yet practical guide, you’ll start fitting pieces of practice into your busy home and work life, whether you are sitting in your office or walking down the hall. Features include

  • Real-life profiles of mindful school leaders
  • Practice exercises to try right away
  • Guidance so you know if you are “doing it right”
  • Hard-to-find resources, including mindfulness apps

Mindful school leaders are better at managing meetings, responding creatively to complex situations, and achieving resilience at work and at home. Take the first steps to transform your life—and your school.

"This inspiring book makes a strong case for school leaders to include mindfulness in their personal and professional lives.  Based on solid research and enhanced by compelling examples of real people, it shows how school leaders can feel more grounded, connected, clear and focused.  Mindfulness makes leaders more effective with relatively little effort, but be advised that the benefits can be contagious, transforming your school from the inside out."
Christopher Germer, Clinical Instructor
Harvard Medical School

"In The Mindful School Leader, Brown and Olson offer with remarkable clarity and depth a thorough introduction to the practice of meditation, the science behind its benefits, and many firsthand accounts of lives and work situations transformed through this practice. Although this book was written for those in leadership roles in education, it will be inspiring for anyone interested in understanding their own minds and finding more ease in life and work."
Joseph Goldstein, Co-Founder
Insight Meditation Society

Read Valerie's Edweek article: "8 Steps to Be a Mindful Listener"

 
Foreword by Richard Brady, President, Mindfulness in Education Network
 
Introduction
 
Chapter 1. Why Mindfulness? The School Leader's Life
A School Leader Practicing Mindfulness

 
Benefits of Practice

 
What Is Mindfulness?

 
Why Do Leaders Need a Mindfulness Practice?

 
Leadership Challenges to Our Sector

 
Knowing When to Disengage and Recharge

 
How Stress Shapes Our Brains

 
Mindfulness for Educational Leaders

 
Your Leadership Practice Matters

 
A Leader With a Growing Mindfulness Practice

 
First Steps: You've Got to Practice

 
Portraits of Practice

 
 
Chapter 2. The Science of Mindfulness
Practice Snapshot: A School Leader Practicing Mindfulness

 
The Science of Mindfulness

 
Stress: A Public Health Risk for Educators

 
Mindfulness Alleviates Stress in the Body and Mind

 
Mindfulness Practice Aids

 
Portraits of Practice

 
 
Chapter 3. The Well-Focused School Leader
A Sleepless Night for Jason

 
Mindfulness and Attention Training

 
Two Ways to Practice: Formal and Informal

 
Mindfulness Practice Aids

 
Mindful Attitudes

 
How Much Practice Time?

 
Practices That Complement Mindfulness

 
Distraction: The New Normal and the School Leader’s Dilemma

 
Negativity Bias: Part of the School Leader’s Dilemma

 
The Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind

 
The Myth of Multitasking

 
Portraits of Practice

 
 
Chapter 4. Communication and Connection: Powerful Skills of the Mindful School Leader
Donna S.T.O.P.s

 
Mindful Communication: Mindful Speaking, Mindful Listening

 
Having Difficult Conversations

 
Mindfulness Practice Aids

 
Portraits of Practice

 
 
Chapter 5. Reclaiming Our Wholeness: Four Educational Leaders Explore Mindfulness
Portraits of Practice: Schools Leaders Practicing Mindfulness

 
Mindfulness Practice Aids

 
 
Chapter 6. Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence: Principles and Practices to Transform Your Leadership Life
A Leader Fails to Notice

 
A Leader Grows EQ Through Mindfulness Practice

 
Mindfulness Practice Aids

 
Portraits of Practice

 
 
Chapter 7. Mindful Leadership in Action: Putting It All Together
Fundamental Principles: The Evolution of the Leader Evolves the Team

 
Stepping-Stones in Your Leadership Journey: Know Yourself

 
What Mindfulness Practice Supports

 
A Mindful Leader in Action: A Last Case Study

 
Well-Being and Compassion at the Center of a New Educational Vision

 
Mindfulness Practice Aids

 
Portraits of Practice

 
 
Appendix A: Books for the Mindful School Leader (Online Only)
 
Appendix B: The (General) Mindful Library (Online Only)
 
Appendix C: Mindfulness Apps—Our Top Picks (Online Only)
 
Appendix D: Our Top Picks for Websites and Places to Practice Mindfulness (Online Only)
 
Appendix E: Relevant, Recent Mindfulness Research in Education (Online Only)
 
Appendix F: Comprehensive List of All Mindfulness Practice Aids in This Book (Online Only)
 
Appendix G: Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (Online Only)

Supplements

"This inspiring book makes a strong case for school leaders to include mindfulness in their personal and professional lives.  Based on solid research and enhanced by compelling examples of real people, it shows how school leaders can feel more grounded, connected, clear and focused.  Mindfulness makes leaders more effective with relatively little effort, but be advised that the benefits can be contagious, transforming your school from the inside out."

Christopher Germer, Clinical Instructor
Harvard Medical School

"A ‘must-get’ book for school leaders looking for help to handle the daunting stress of their work.  Brimming with hope and practical advice, this inspiring book combines fascinating portraits of real leaders with down-to-earth mindfulness practices that work.  Brown and Olson—longtime practitioners of mindfulness, seasoned coaches and wise observers of the education scene—offer balm for the soul of school leaders who today are giving their all to realize their dreams."

Jerome T. Murphy, Howe Research Professor of Education & Dean Emeritus
Harvard Graduate School of Education

"Masterfully practical, rich with wisdom and the heartfelt experiences of scholars and leaders in the field, this is the handbook to keep at your side if you wish to become more evolved, insightful, nimble and better prepared, in general, to address the challenges of teaching and leading. "

Dianne E Horgan, Associate Director
Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, UMASS Medical School

"This book is a must read for all school leaders.  Given the high stakes testing environment and shrinking budgets of schools today, educators are under more stress than ever.  This book will help school leaders find the equanimity needed to lead with calm, clarity, and effectiveness in the midst of the storm."

Kristin Neff, Associate Professor
Educational Psychology Dept., University of Texas at Austin

"In The Mindful School Leader, Brown and Olson offer with remarkable clarity and depth a thorough introduction to the practice of meditation, the science behind its benefits, and many firsthand accounts of lives and work situations transformed through this practice. Although this book was written for those in leadership roles in education, it will be inspiring for anyone interested in understanding their own minds and finding more ease in life and work."

Joseph Goldstein, Co-Founder
Insight Meditation Society

"Leadership of any sort is demanding work, and nowhere more so than in our schools. What do school leaders need if they are to lead well? Technical knowledge and skill, of course. But equally critical to good leadership is a capacity for 'mindfulness' which helps leaders see more clearly what's going on around and within them so they can navigate complex terrain without getting lost. This important book—beautifully written, illustrated with case studies, and full of practical guidance—can help school leaders find their bearings in ways that allow them to serve the urgent needs of teachers, students and the larger society."

Parker J. Palmer, Author of "Healing the Heart of Democracy," "The Courage to Teach," "A Hidden Wholeness" and "Let Your Life Speak"

"Well-researched and beautifully documented, The Mindful School Leader is a wonderful addition to the growing literature on mindfulness practices applied to the many sectors of modern societies. This book is unique in its many vignettes relating the personal stories of education leaders from around the world who talk about their experience with mindfulness. The authors also provide simple meditations that can be used even during busy workdays. This book will appeal to leaders in education and other fields who are interested in mindfulness but may not know where to start or how it can be applied to their lives."

Gaelle Desbordes, Instructor, Harvard Medical School
Neuroscientist, Massachusetts General Hospital

"When school leaders are stressed, their tensions radiate to their staff. When teachers are stressed, their students reap the turbulent ripples. When students’ brains are stressed, optimal learning is unlikely. This book offers inspirational and practical advice to school leaders for calming their waters and spawning ripples of clarity and serenity throughout the school pond."

Jay McTighe, Co-author, The Understanding by Design® series

"An important support for school leaders, this book is comprehensive, and well thought out. The personal stories within are compelling and encouraging. The Mindful School Leader is a tremendous asset to leaders worldwide to foster greater understanding and compassion within themselves and within schools."

Sharon Salzberg, Co-Founder Insight Meditation Society

“This is a book with deep wisdom on every page. While it draws its examples and targets its practical recommendations to educators, there is so much here of benefit to people in all manner of pursuits, pedagogical or otherwise. For me, this profoundly necessary book serves as a guide to being human in a world that seems determined to sap the humanity from us. And imagine the impact on our future that a more present and aware population of educators will make. Pay attention to this book, and it will teach you how to truly pay attention.”

Steve Heller, Program Director, Leadership Coaching Certificate Program
Georgetown University Institute for Transformational Leadership

Sample Materials & Chapters

Introduction

Chapter 1


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ISBN: 9781483303086
£21.99