Tuesday, 18 August 2015

McMindfulness in the workplace: vocational learning and the commodification of the present moment

an article by Terry Hyland (University of Bolton, UK) published in Journal of Vocational Education & Training Volume 67 Issue 2 (2015)


Originating in Buddhist contemplative traditions, mindfulness theory and practice – which foregrounds present-moment awareness and attention – has extended its modern secular and therapeutic applications into an exponentially expanding range of fields and disciplines including psychology, psychotherapy, mind-body health practices and education at all levels.

Its potential usefulness in general vocational education and training has been explored by a number of researchers and practitioners, and its application in schools and colleges is receiving increasing attention.

As with many popular educational innovations, the foundational values of mindfulness strategies have been distorted and subverted in a number of instances in which ‘McMindfulness’ programmes have been implemented with a view to the exclusive pursuit of corporate objectives and commercial profit.

Such mutated examples of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are, to some degree, evident in certain spheres of the field of mindfulness and work in which the present-moment attention and stress-reduction aspects of mindfulness strategies are unduly separated from the ethical foundations for the purpose of outcome-based assessments linked to predominantly instrumentalist ends.

As a way of guarding against such decontextualising developments in MBIs, a conception of mindfulness at work is recommended which foregrounds the ethical and affective components of vocationalism and which is informed by work-based and apprenticeship models of learning.

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