Joanne Edmundson Kistruck, OCT, M.Ed, PhD candidate

Joanne Edmundson Kistruck, OCT, M.Ed, PhD candidate
PhD Candidate, York University, Faculty of Education

Joanne Edmundson Kistruck is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at York University. An Ontario-certified teacher since 1996, Joanne’s work in mindfulness education builds upon her passion for helping young people, her love of all things creative, and approximately 25 years of personal experience with meditation and mindfulness, both in the Shambhala tradition and in formal MBSR training.

MakerMinds™: an Exploration of Making and Mindfulness in Schools
Saturday, May 2, 2020 — 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

One in every five young people in Ontario struggles with mental health issues, most commonly in the form of an anxiety disorder, while access to public support services remains woefully inadequate (CAMH, 2018; Ontario Ministry of Education, 2013). Arguably, schools — where young people spend most of their time — provide an ideal venue through which to promote mental wellness for all students. And there is, in fact, growing interest among educators and school boards in providing mindfulness-based programming to this end (Whitley et al., 2013). Mindfulness has been used for several decades in clinical and non-clinical settings to promote mental health (Gouda et al., 2016; Meiklejohn et al., 2012). Scholarly research with school-aged children is limited, however, and the problem of how to fully engage young people in mindfulness remains open. To address this question, Joanne Edmundson Kistruck is focusing her doctoral research on exploring the combination of ‘classical’ elements of mindfulness training with makerspace pedagogy, an emerging trend in education that asks children to build knowledge by building physical models of what they learn. The result is MakerMinds™, co-developed and facilitated with Joanna Sparrow, ND. By combining two disparate pedagogies, this innovative program challenges traditional mindfulness training methods, immerses students in deeply creative work, and encourages them to practise the very mindfulness tools they are learning while making models that both reflect and develop their understanding of how those tools work.

In this interactive workshop, we will discuss research findings, as well as the possibilities and challenges of combining mindfulness with making. Our main focus, however, will be on engaging participants in the hands-on work/play of modelling mindfulness content and exploring how this pedagogical approach might be put to use in participants’ own work.

Participants will come away with:

  • An understanding of makerspace pedagogy and why this innovative approach might be particularly helpful in teaching mindfulness
  • Hands-on experience in how makerspace and mindfulness pedagogies work in combination to excite students and engage them in learning about living mindfully
  • Ideas for incorporating ‘making’ into participants’ own work in mindfulness and mindfulness training with diverse populations