Mindfulness for teachers: notes toward a discursive cartography

Remy Low (Sydney School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

History of Education Review

ISSN: 0819-8691

Publication date: 3 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

For the interested teacher, teacher educator and educational researcher seeking an entry point into how mindfulness relates to teachers’ work, the burgeoning and divergent appeals for the relevance of mindfulness to teachers can be bewildering. The purpose of this paper is to offer teachers, teacher educators and educational researchers a conceptual framework for understanding the different orientations and sources of mindfulness as it has been recommended to teachers.

Design/methodology/approach

Using Foucault’s (1972) concept of “discursive formations” as a heuristic device, this paper argues that mindfulness as pitched to teachers can be helpfully understood as arising from three distinct orientations.

Findings

Statements about mindfulness and its relevance to teachers emerge from three distinct discursive formations – traditional, psychological and engaged – that each constitute the “problem” faced by teachers respectively as suffering, stress or alienation. Specific conceptions of mindfulness are then advanced as a solution to these problems by certain authoritative subjects and institutions in ways that are taken as legitimate within each discursive formation.

Originality/value

Apart from offering a historical and discursive mapping of the different discursive formations from which mindfulness is pitched to teachers, this paper also highlights how each of these orientations impies a normative view of what a teacher should be. Suggestions for further historical research are also offered along the lines of genealogy, epistemology and ontology.

Keywords

Citation

Remy Low (2019) "Mindfulness for teachers: notes toward a discursive cartography", History of Education Review, Vol. 48 No. 1, pp. 91-108

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DOI

: https://doi.org/10.1108/HER-12-2018-0030

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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