AMS2022 Learning Session
Reimagining Education/Care Systems for Relational Compassion
Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, national surveys of Canadian K-12 educators (Sokal, Trudel, & Babb, 2020) were already revealing high levels of educator exhaustion, educators withdrawing from their students, and significant declines in classroom effectiveness. Not surprisingly, these findings mirror the rates of exhaustion, burnout, and low morale pervasive across the caring professions—even prior to the pandemic.
Given current realities, as a teacher educator longing to support K–12 educators/caring professionals in reconnecting with and deepening their capacities for care and compassion, I have found powerful inspiration and resonance in Lavelle and colleagues’ CourageRISE framework for building relational cultures of practice (Lavelle, Vigna, Walsh, & Porter, 2021) interwoven with Makransky and colleagues’ Sustainable Compassion Training (SCT) (see, for example, Condon & Makransky, 2020, 2021). In combination, these frameworks draw upon ancient wisdom and spiritual traditions integrated with current, multidisciplinary theories and research that situate the self, others, and systems within relational contexts that interrupt dominant individualistic/self-help contemplative cultural patterns. These frameworks propose alternative, sustainable, and inclusive pathways of counter-oppressive awareness, healing, re-visioning, and community solidarity—adaptable for both secular practitioners and practitioners from varied spiritual and religious traditions.
This session will briefly elucidate the two frameworks; engage participants in contemplative exercises that make it possible for them to feel what it is like to be held in a loving field of care (a principal obstacle to compassion cultivation) and from which it is possible to deepen in care for themselves and extend care to others; share and discuss examples from K–12 educators/caring professionals’ personal, social, and systemic responses to their pedagogical explorations with these frameworks.
Wayne Serebrin, PhD
After more than three decades as an literacies teacher educator (and former classroom teacher), the focus of Wayne’s scholarship, teaching, and service as an education professor is now devoted to contemplative praxis—as a way of reimagining a more just and caring world in and through K–12 education and higher education. Grounded in secular, embodied, sustainable compassion cultivation practices, Wayne’s primary commitment is to co-creating educational cultures/communities of loving relational care and compassion. By designing counter-oppressive pedagogies and trans-disciplinary and transformative curricula with fellow educators, Wayne’s co-inquiries are intended to awaken collective consciousness of structural and systemic forms of oppression and domination; invite and evoke healing practices, active hope and joy; and vision and revision an education that serves and benefits all (including the more-than-human world and the planet). Wayne is a certified/trained teacher in a number of compassion cultivation, mindfulness, and nonviolent communication protocols.