Step 2 – Learning to teach
To develop competency as an MBCT teacher we offer two routes: the Master of Studies and Foundational Training
How do you choose between the different routes?
It is important that you choose a route that will enable you to fulfill your personal objectives for developing skills and knowledge of MBCT. The Masters programme is for those who wish to experience the academic rigour of a University of Oxford Masters programme, enabling you on graduation to teach, innovate and advocate the use of MBCT. The Foundational Training course is a largely practical course enabling the development of teaching skills, with an understanding of the theory and intentions of MBCT, leading onto an apprenticeship.
You should consider that the entry criteria for the courses are different, as is the duration of the courses, and the level of skills in teaching that you will have reached on completion.
Master of Studies in MBCT
Over two years, this academic course is designed to offer a deep understanding of the structure, curriculum and intentions of MBCT, together with a critical appreciation of cognitive and clinical theory, empirical research and Buddhist psychology relating to MBCT. Developing and reflecting on your own personal mindfulness practice is a key part of the programme. The course provides you with the opportunity to develop the practical skills you will need to translate knowledge and understanding into delivering high quality MBCT, and contributing to the development and dissemination of this approach. Assessment of competency will be assessed by the end of the programme using the MBI-TAC (see below).
The Foundational Training Course in teaching MBCT is a year long skills based course, including a four day residential retreat. It will enable you to deepen your personal mindfulness practice and to understand the background, relevant scientific theory and ethical framework of MBCT through taught days. You will learn about the intentions underpinning the various elements of the MBCT course, and also about the structure and sequence of the curriculum. You will have the opportunity to develop teaching skills through practicing teaching the curriculum with peers, providing you with a solid platform for developing further teaching skills through your apprenticeship.
We recognise that it is not always possible for people to attend over an 11 month period. We therefore offer an alternative for those who may be unable to attend due to time or travel constraints. This option is likely to result in a longer apprenticeship as you will need to continue your learning through attending further training.
This intensive 7-day training, held in a retreat-like environment, provides participants who have met all the prerequisites for training to be a teacher with an opportunity to directly experience the 8-session programme of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and learn about the theoretical underpinnings of MBCT and its structure and sequence. You will practise teaching elements of MBCT to one another in pairs, with supervision and feedback from the instructors and peers. There will be extensive periods of silence throughout the 7 days.
The training is an introduction to teaching MBCT, and a platform for developing further teaching skills through your apprenticeship.
Intensive Foundational Training in Teaching MBCT – Find out more
The next phase of training to teach competently involves trainee teachers beginning to teach the MBCT course to people within their own field/area of expertise, having completed either Foundational training. Working towards competency through closely supervised teaching takes place over as long a period as necessary to enable enough space for preparation, teaching, supervision and reflection. The OMC does not take responsibility for organising your apprenticeship. However, we will welcome you back to have your competency as a teacher assessed at an appropriate stage in the future. Please read more on each course for further information.
It is important that you are supervised through your teaching apprenticeship and beyond. This can be organised either privately or via the Mindfulness Network Community Interest Company (CIC). The UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teacher Trainer Organisations Good Practice Guidelines for Trainers of Mindfulness-Based Teachers can help trainee teachers to identify which trainers might be qualified to provide them with supervision.
Assessment of Teacher Competency
The Oxford Mindfulness Centre offers an assessment of competency to teach MBCT within the broader MBCT Training Pathway. The assessment criteria are laid out in the Mindfulness-based Interventions Teaching Assessment Criteria (MBI-TAC).
As a trainee teacher you can complete a formal assessment of teaching competency when your supervisor agrees you are ready. The MBCT International Training Pathway specifies that you must have taught at least two MBCT classes as a trainee / apprentice, with regular ongoing supervision from an experienced MBCT supervisor; however your supervisor may advise you to gain more experience of teaching before applying for a formal assessment.
The steps involved in applying for competency assessment are given below.
If you meet the pre-requisite criteria and you are assessed as competent in all six domains of the MBI-TAC, you will be awarded a Certificate of Competency to Teach MBCT from the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.
Further reading and information