Head of School Posts

March 02, 2015

West Meets East: Mindfulness, Part 2

Today I am excited to follow up on my November blog about mindfulness and meditation. While looking for books for my children last fall, I happened to see the book Mindfulness by Harvard professor Ellen J. Langer; the bookstore was celebrating the 25th anniversary of the book’s publication. Since social-emotional wellbeing is integral to Dawson’s Strategic Plan, and since mindfulness is of particular interest to me, I decided to read it. I found especially interesting Langer’s Western interpretation of mindfulness as a complement to the Eastern practices more often associated with mindfulness: things like meditation, the quieting of the mind, and the relinquishing of thoughts. Though these tools are useful forms of supporting one’s overall sense of mindfulness, those less familiar with their numerous benefits sometimes dismiss them.

Langer’s take on mindfulness is refreshing and has, I think, broad-ranging application to our personal lives and to our collective work in defining the future at Dawson. To properly understand her interpretation of mindfulness, we first need to understand the concept of mindlessness, which Langer spends considerable time exploring. For Langer, mindlessness is manifested through automatic behavior, repetition, and a belief in limited resources, and it can lead to a narrow self-image, a perceived loss of control that limits choices, and learned helplessness. Think about that for a moment. This description of... » read more

More recent posts

November 11, 2014

Being Mindful About Education

As educators and parents, we know that students learn best when they feel physically and emotionally safe, when they are engaged in learning, and when they are connected to a larger community.  It is for these reasons that Dawson’s 2014 Strategic Plan includes an intentional emphasis on the... » read more
August 28, 2014

Engaging Students for a Fluid and Dynamic Future

“Dawson graduates are young men and women who reach their individual potential, savor life, and meet the challenges of the world.” That is Dawson School’s vision, and we help our students become those young men and women every day. I am proud of the school we are at this moment, and proud of... » read more
July 30, 2014

Keys to the Most Effective Teachers and Learners

I am a growing Twitter enthusiast, and something came to me through that medium early in July in a post from Carrie Lam at Edutopia (@edutopia) titled “11 Habits of an Effective Teacher.” The list appealed to me instantly, primarily because I think that many of these characteristics... » read more
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