Mindful Educators website aims to encourage and support educators to introduce the practice of mindfulness, and to share mindfulness-based-initiatives for promoting values, ethics and respectful behavior inside classrooms, schools and universities. Mindfulness is an ancient practice which was first introduced by the Buddha 2600 years ago in Northern India. More recently, due to multiple benefits seen across many sectors, and due to its neuro-scientific basis, mindfulness has been embraced by Western scientists, psychologists, health-care workers and educators
Dr Tara de Mel
Dr Tara de Mel was a Senior Lecturer in Physiology, at the Faculty of Medicine University of Colombo until 1994, after which she was appointed Director, Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. In 1997 she was appointed Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka on Social Infrastructure. She also served as Vice Chairperson (Policy) – National Education Commission and Secretary to the Ministry of Education & Higher Education. She steered the work of Presidential Task Forces on General Education, University Education and Tertiary & Vocational Education.
She served two terms as a member of the Board of the Commonwealth of Learning, in Vancouver. Since 2017 she’s been part of several teams which designed programs for teaching mindfulness to school children. In 2018, together with the Ministry of Education she initiated programs for school teachers on mindfulness-based initiatives for values, ethics, empathy & respect for diversity within classrooms. She also helped design programs to assess the impact of mindfulness in students. She is a member of the Global Consultative Group of Mindfulness Initiative UK. In 2019 she co-founded the Coalition Against Violence in Universities, which champions eradicating all forms of ragging & violence in universities & higher education institutes. She also co-founded Education Forum Sri Lanka, an initiative which facilitates dialogues for catalyzing policy reforms in education. She is a member of the volunteer organization, Religions for Responsible Governance which consists of senior clergy of all religions as well as lay persons. In August 2019 she received National Honors : Sri Lanka Sikhamani.
Mr Sivagnanam served as a teacher and principal in government schools in plantation and rural areas in Sri Lanka until he joined the Sri Lanka Education Administrative Service in 1982. In 1990 he joined the Ministry of Education and was responsible for several projects connected to primary education including the Primary Education Reforms introduced in 1999. He also served as the National Coordinator for Education for All and Millennium Development Goals programs. After leaving the Ministry of Education in 2006, he served as the Senior Learning Advisor to Plan Sri Lanka and also served as Advisor on many education programs. Since 2017 he has been actively involved in work connected to Sati Pasala as well as in various Mindfulness Education programs targeting pre-school, primary & junior secondary school teachers.
He got introduced to mindfulness practice in 2016 when he got a golden opportunity to translate into Tamil the instructional essays written by Most Venerable Uda Eriyagama Dhammajiva Maha Thero for the school children to learn mindfulness in a simple interesting way. The core message he imbibed through these essays triggered a transformation in his mind inspiring him to start practising the simple mindfulness practices as guided in the instructional essays. He experienced a dramatic change in his life realizing the meaning of true happiness and his relationship with his family members and associates turned out to be cordial and peaceful. He volunteered to work as a facilitator in the Mindful School Program implemented by the Sati Pasala Foundation and in addition to conducting mindfulness training sessions to different target groups, he has functioned as interpreter across Sinhala and Tamil Languages in many mindfulness training sessions conducted by Most Venerable Uda Eriyagama Dhammajiva Maha Thero. He was one of the speakers at the Global Mindfulness Summit held in Colombo in February 2018. He has also written 12 lesson modules under different themes for the Certificate Course in Mindfulness. He is, currently, working as a free lance education evaluation consultant in collaboration with Professor Angela Little, Professor Emeritus, Institute of Education, University of London.
Dinusha Wickremesekara is a Sociology and Psychology Lecturer at the Royal Institute of Colombo and has worked with children with special needs and Montessori teachers. She collaborated with Niluka Gunawardena on developing curricula for the Open University of Sri Lanka for a pilot on mindfulness for primary school teachers and was a trainer on a SLAAED funded project to train 200 primary school teachers in the national school system. She studied Sociology for her BSc and has a Master of Science in Business Psychology.
Deshabandu Jezima Ismail
Deshabandu Jezima Ismail is a Sri Lankan educator, broadcaster and social activist who has also served as an advocate for human rights. She has held several important positions in fields such as education for over three decades, as well as human rights and broadcasting. She has also worked in several international organisations on human rights and in particular gender issues and women’s rights. She is a fierce advocate for including values into education and strongly believes that mindfulness is a practice that will help build values and ethics, in educators and students.
Niluka Gunawardena is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Kelaniya, Department of Disability Studies. She is a certified .b mindfulness trainer and is registered with the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), UK. She co-developed and delivered a mindfulness programme for primary teachers through the Ministry of Education and the Open University of Sri Lanka. She also conducts mindfulness programmes in schools on an independent basis. She has carried out action based research on the impact of mindfulness education in primary state schools in Queensland, Australia. She has taught as a secondary and tertiary level teacher over the past ten years and is dedicated to promoting mindfulness among children and young adults to foster compassionate and inclusive communities.