with Laura Bean, Jacqueline Raphael, and Linda Yamashita
At one of our teaching sites, we recently learned a heart-breaking statistic: one in two middle school students do not feel connected to school. We believe that creativity and innovation are desperately needed to ameliorate this situation. In this workshop, we will explore how mindfulness and creative, dynamic activities reinforce each other, not only increasing student engagement, but also promoting their self-knowledge, confidence, and resilience. The Art of the Mind Playshop invites participants to take their mindfulness practice onto the page, the canvas, and the stage. The strategies learned will be immediately applicable to classrooms and other youth service settings. Mindfulness curricula that include a writing component typically focus on reflective journaling and questions surrounding the application of mindfulness in students’ lives. While invaluable, these approaches only skim the surface of the deeper creative potential waiting to be tapped. We invite participants to experience a range of creative activities including free-writing, movement, drawing, and sitting practice to explore questions of identity and self-concept that are essential to adolescence. Participants will take away a variety of ways to infuse creative self-expression into mindfulness lessons. They will experience first-hand the transformative power of creativity, and see how it can be offered in a safe, non-threatening way.
Laura Bean is on a mission to bring the heart back into the classroom. She presented a workshop at the conference last year, demonstrating her work introducing pop songs, poetry, and art to students as complements to mindfulness practice, and offering participants the opportunity to experience the process firsthand. The curriculum was inspired by Dr. Amy Saltzman, author of A Still Quiet Place, who she studied with and observed leading a 7-week workshop with tweens. Bean possesses a clear California English teaching credential and has over twenty years of experience as a teacher. She has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, is a published poet and author, and has taught poetry writing workshops in New York City public schools, as well as in Tucson, Arizona, and in Okinawa and Kyoto, Japan. Her meditation practice spans three decades (including over 200 days of silent retreat). She also served as developmental editor for her principal meditation teacher’s first book entitled Dharma If You Dare, which was published in 2013.
Jacqueline Raphael is a published author, teacher, life coach, and professional development provider with a passion for helping young people succeed. With over twenty years of experience providing workshops and classes, she works with individuals and organizations to expand the creativity and critical thinking skills of adolescents. She brings to her work a strong focus on metacognition, mindfulness, and the power of the written word to change lives. In her presentations, Raphael uses humor, storytelling, interactive strategies, and hands-on activities to involve all participants in the creative process. Raphael lives in Portland, Oregon, where she works at Education Northwest helping teachers improve their writing instruction. There she recently co-founded a writing camp to help gifted middle school writers cultivate their skills with abandon.
Linda Yamashita, a native of Colorado, is currently living in Kyoto, Japan where she is an associate professor at Kansai Gai Dai University. Her classes are designed to cultivate students’ awareness of how mindfulness can positively impact the world. She co-edited a book about mindfulness by her meditation teacher, Doug Duncan, entitled Dharma If You Dare. As leader of a meditation group in Kyoto, she has managed and co-led annual ten-day silent retreats for ten years in Japan, Canada, and Indonesia. When she is not teaching meditation classes, she enjoys spending time in nature, taking Zumba and painting classes.