Mindfulness in education — Foundation for Resilience
and Social Engagement
at the University of Leipzig in Germany
September 21 — 22, 2023
an event of the project ABiK of the ZLS
of the University of Leipzig and the AVE Institute
As part of the 2-day conference, organized by the project Mindfulness in education and university/school culture (ABiK) of the Center for Teacher Training and School Research (ZLS) at the University of Leipzig together with the Institute for Mindfulness, Connectedness, Engagement (AVE Institut), two of us were invited to hold a workshop on the topic of Possibilities for encountering trauma in the classroom. This time we integrated a few skills from the Community Resiliencey Model (CRM)® into the workshop, which were very well received by the participants.
This hypothesis was, among other things, part of the intensive workshop on mindfulness and sustainability of the ABiK project the following day. The central questions were:
What connects mindfulness with prosocial and environmentally conscious behavior?
How can we use mindfulness-based formats to contribute to a responsible life
towards ourselves and towards those around us and the environment?
A highlight of the conference was the report by the Danish psychologist Helle Jensen and family therapist about her model project Empathy goes to school — an approach for the entire system, the effect of which is scientifically measured.
It was an honor for us to contribute to this first mindfulness conference
Fit for Life
Mental health workshop for the 5th grade
at the Junior High School Stockerau in Lower Austria
in the last week of school
„We're not doing anything special today. You already know everything we do.
But we do everything differently than we are used to and we do our best.“
These were approximately the words of welcome. The point is that over time we become aware of our usual behavior so that we can consciously try out new behavior. The children immediately agreed. One of the first exercises was to go to a nearby playground together.
„When you usually go to the playground as a class, how does it look like?“
„Usually we talk to each other.“
„Ok, then we'll be quiet today and everyone stays with oneself.“
This exercise worked right away. All the children stayed with themselves the entire way, so each child could take care of themselves. At the playground, among other things, the sports professor led a warm-up exercise that the children were familiar with. A few body-oriented awareness exercises were then added to the same exercise, and the children were encouraged to take responsibility for themselves. Afterwards, we tried out a perception and breathing exercise to calm down, followed by a round of reflection.
Thank you for your willingness to embark on this journey of discovery together!
Taking well-being in our hands
two workshops in German and Arabic June 9, 2023 at Amerlinghaus Vienna June 12, 2023 at the District Authority of the 15th district of Vienna
In June 2023, the two Community Resiliency Model (CRM)® trainers Gabriele Siebert and Ingrid Otepka had the possibility to hold the first two workshops with content from the Community Resiliency Model (CRM)® in two different communities.
We were very pleased that, judging by the feedback, both workshops were well received. In both groups, there was a desire for a practice-oriented follow-up workshop.
The first workshop was open to people from the Arab-Austrian House for Art and Culture, while the second workshop took place as part of the City of Vienna's Community Communicator project. Thank you very much for your support!
The content of the workshops is based on the Trauma Resource Institute's science-based Trauma and Resiliency Informed Community Resiliency Model (CRM)®. As it stands, the content of this model should actually be suitable for all people, regardless of age, cultural background or education.
We are looking forward to the upcoming workshops :)
Educational commons and active social inclusion
at the University Volos in Greece
May 26 — May 28, 2023
an event of the SMOOTH project
As part of the 3-day SMOOTH Conference, organized by the EU-funded research project SMOOTH (Horizon 2020), we were invited to hold a lecture on the topic of Four approaches promoting social learning, conflict resolution, resilience and engagemet.
In addition to presenting the content of the mindfulness-based approaches, we also wanted to relate them to one another. For example, a body-focused awareness exercise from the mindfulness schoolbook The Toolbox is You forms the basis of one of the six skills of the Community Resiliency Model (CRM)®, while CRM's trauma and resilience-informed approach is incorporated into the SEE Learning Program (Social, Emotional and Ethical Learning).
Moreover, we wanted to show that the concept of Educational commons has many things in common with the approaches we have presented. As we see, educational commons can be easily combined with mindfulness-based approaches, so that they complement each other well.
We were inspired by the content of other lectures, such as a lecture on expressive writing in free text production, on alternative approaches to addiction prevention or on the common culture of transnational gangs.
Thank you for this inspiring exchange and the beautiful conversations 🙏
German as a Foreign/Second Language 2022:
Go on! Goals — Content — Methods
9th Nationwide Congress for German Teachers in Switzerland
at the University Freiburg/Fribourg in Switzerland
July 1 and 2 2022
organized by AkDaF and Ledafids
As part of the 2-day Congress for German Teachers in Switzerland, we (Anja Kainberger and Ingrid Otepka) were invited to hold two workshops on the topic of Learning with trauma — possibilities, ideas, limits. The basis of the workshops is mindfulness.
For these workshops, we developed a mindfulness exercise especially for teachers with the intention of making it possible to experience the learning of empathy through mental training. Specifically, it is about training a “healthy” way of dealing with the topic of war.
The interest in the workshops was great, we were fully aware of the urgency to deal with this topic in depth, it became clear that a 1.5-hour workshop on this topic can cover a small part of the really huge area, there were inquiries about in-depth training courses online and face-to-face for teachers in Switzerland, a Swiss publisher expressed interest in publishing trauma-sensitive teaching material, and a place to go comparable to MARA in Switzerland was asked.
We will try to meet the requests and, if necessary, we will be happy to support the establishment of a comparable place to go in Switzerland.
Many, many thanks for the invitation and for the thought-provoking conversations!
migration & mindfulness in a constantly changing world
International online conference
in May 2022, with
Our event in video clips:
being fully present
in Vienna (15 min)
Research on Mindfulness
world of music,
Research on Mindfulness,
Trauma Pedagogy and
Religion (37 min)
Q & A (16 min)
Responding to trauma
in working with refugees
Part 2 (38 min)
Responding to trauma
in working with refugees
Part 1 (31 min)
Resiliency Project *
Migration & Mindfulness
in a constantly
People from the fields of migration, mindfulness, health, education, ethics, journalism and music had their say, exchanged ideas, and together concrete possibilities for the next obvious steps for easier global cooperation emerged.
Thousands of years of conflicts worldwide cause indescribable suffering. One consequence of this is the current refugee movement with millions of asylum seekers worldwide. In the host countries, these people are sometimes confronted with further difficulties, such as rejection. Both, the experienced violence and difficulties in the host country lead to high levels of stress and problems in everyday life.
Understandably, these and other developments pose great challenges for people in the conflict and host countries. In consensus, we see a necessary step in dealing constructively with trauma in two ways: directly at the time it occurs as well as after the trauma has taken place. Mindfulness plays a key role here. Countries outside of the conflict zones have a particularly large room for manoeuvre.
During the online conference, best practice models could be presented and discussed and professional experiences shared.
We would like to thank the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria
for their financial support
─ Feedback of participants
“I think the most valuable parts of the conference were, on one hand, being able to have a first-hand immersion on the topic of midfulness through the short, but deep exercises that were carried out by some of the lecturers. And on the other hand, to get a direct idea from the testimonies of Kateryna Zeziulina, Elena Shirin, and Morteza Mohammadi of how mindfulness actually works in the context of armed conflict and migration“
“Thanks for the great online conference Migration & Mindfulness. It was very special for me. For the first time I could feel so much positive energy across the screen 💕 and I was happy to be a part of it“
“Unfortunately I won't be able to arrange to participate today for professional reasons, but I would like to thank you very much for the unique event and the rich input. I would be very happy if you keep me informed about your next activities. Have a good end today and best regards“
“Mah, you really did something very nice with the conference! I found the speakers incredibly exciting and the setting just really wonderful! I've shared Gülmihri's gratitude exercise with others over the last few days and so far everyone has been very enthusiastic. Thank you very much for bringing such a nice group together!“
“I'm very sorry that I couldn't be there yesterday due to my late work. But I hope I can catch up when you've edited the video clips. In any case, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the really great contributions and your very professional organisation. It was nice, thank you!“
Mindfulness across the German-speaking educational landscape
Through words, pictures & exercises
April 28 2021 online
The topic mindfulness is gaining interest in Austria. We have taken a closer look at the German-speaking educational landscape in schools, as well as in further education, and it has caught our attention that the subject mindfulness is being offered in diverse ways. At this online event we presented a few people from the field of education who were talking about mindfulness and who were also introducing us to concrete mindfulness exercises.
Our event in video clips:
Mindfulness across the educational landscape – opening words by Jakob Brunner, MARA
Mindfulness in the classroom – How is this actually possible? by Melanie Wohnert, mindscool
Inner emotional map & mindfulness by Persy Lowis Bulayumi, Initative for a non-discriminating education system
Trauma & mindfulness in working with refugees by Ingrid Otepka, MARA
Questions raised in this event were the following:
What do we mean by mindfulness?
What effects do mindfulness exercises have on students?
What effects do mindfulness exercises have on the teachers respectively?
What happens, when people with an internalized mindful attitude shape lessons for kids, adolescents, or adults?
“Thank you for all the great and inspiring suggestions! I can’t wait to hear more!”
“The fact that you share your experiences with us is very helpful and thought-provoking.”
“[Mindfulness teaching] gives me such a quality in my workaday life, and it makes every day all of a sudden so meaningful, I feel energized by just seeing what is happening in this field. […] I feel energized by just seeing what is happening in this field. […] Well, I’m looking forward to class tomorrow.”
“[…] A thought came up, wouldn’t it be wise to learn trauma-sensitive mindfulness right away and then to share, because you never know if someone and/ or who in the classroom has already experienced a trauma before.”
“Thank you, thank you so much… you are role models!!!”
─ Feedback of participants