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Session Title: Mind minute
Speaker: Heather Bertrand, Assistant Professor, Point Loma University
                Jennifer Kritsch, Associate Professor, Point Lama University
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Session description: According to the data, 82% of U.S. states do not intentionally include teacher self-awareness in their teacher preparation programs and fail to take into account how to support preservice teachers and educational leaders to develop their self-awareness (Schonert-Reichl, Hanson-Peterson, & Hymel, 2015). Mindfulness is defined as “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, nonjudgmentally” and can be achieved through intentional focused attention on the breath, body, and mind in a specific moment (DiCarlo et al., 2019). Mindfulness practices support decreased stress, bring awareness to the body and mind, and emotional regulation, which improves the performance of daily tasks (Diamond & Ling, 2016; Hwang et al. 2017). Prior research reflects the majority of teacher preparation programs in the United States often neglect to support preservice teachers’ and preservice administrators’ self-awareness (Park et al., 2019). Thus, the effects of mindfulness training or practices on pre-service teachers and school leaders remain underexplored (Mahfouz, 2018). The research sought to determine if intentional, scheduled mindfulness activities once a week for 5 to 10 minutes for 8-weeks could improve preservice teachers, preservice educational administrators, and preservice certification program faculty and staff’s mindfulness in their daily practices and activities. The scheduled time was called a Mind Minute. Participants (preservice educators, preservice administrators, and program faculty and staff) engaged in one specific mindfulness practice each week for 8-weeks under the direction of a School of Education faculty member. Specific mindfulness activities included deep breathing exercises, yoga stretching, mindset focus, and breathing prayers. Participants assessed their self-awareness during week 1 and again in week 8 using a Google Form version of the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (Brown & Ryan, 2003). The Google form outlined the scale as well as reflective, qualitative questions for participants to answer based on their experiences and perceptions of the mindful activities. The researchers analyzed the results of the pre-and post-assessment to determine if participants made growth in their mindful attention and awareness of immediate tasks, and to explore their overall perceptions of the mindfulness activity experiences.

Bio: Heather Bertrand has an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in special education. She has spent 16 years in the field of special education and is currently an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Point Loma Nazarene University. Heather strives to provide pre-service teachers and administrators with impactful, educational pedagogy while encouraging intentional practices in support of mental, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing for school personnel and students alike. She can be reached at [email protected].

    Jennifer Kritsch has a Ph.D. in Instructional Design and has spent 30 years in education. She holds a Clear California Education Specialist Credential, a Clear California General Education Credential, and California Administrative Services Credential. She is currently serving on the CalTPA Education Specialist design team. She is an Associate Professor of Special Education and the Director of Education Specialist Credentials at Point Loma Nazarene University.  She believes in building resiliency and teaching others to do the same through thoughtfully designed special education courses that encompass mindfulness and wellness. She enjoys collaboration and would love to hear from you. She can be reached at [email protected].