When Dr. Molly Dunn taught at a public middle school in inner city Chicago, she had to cope with the stress of high stakes testing and teaching in a poor district plagued with crime and gang activity.
I started to go to a yoga studio on Sunday evenings to get my mind in the right place for the coming week, Dunn said.
Soon she was teaching yoga after school to her students. That summer she became certified as a full-fledged yoga instructor, and used that training to help both students and adults deal with stress. That eventually led to doctoral work on mindfulness as a way to help prevent teacher burnout.
The Marymount University lecturer recently presented at the Comparative and International Education Society Conference in Mexico City on the topic. Held March 25-29, it drew 3,200 participants from 117 countries.
She spoke on the panel Contemplative Actions for Social Justice: Reflective Practices for Students, Communities and Educators. She also co-presented at a pre-conference workshop on non-traditional forms of teacher professional development, where she discussed meditation and loving kindness practices in postsecondary education.
Prior to joining the MU faculty in 2017, Dunn also taught and held leadership positions in rural parochial schools in south Texas and taught in Venezuela. She is a graduate of the Alliance for Catholic Education and a former program director at the National Catholic Educational Association. She earned her bachelors degree in history and a master degrees in education from the University of Notre Dame and her Ph.D. in teaching, learning, policy and leadership at the University of Maryland.
Dr. Molly Dunn speaks with Dr. Bruce Collet, associate professor in cross-cultural and international education studies at Bowling Green State University.
Dunn also had the chance to catch up with Gonzalo Esteva and Angela Anderson Guerrero, friends who are educators in Mexico.
Dunn is with Otto Granados, the Mexican Secretary of Education, who spoke about reforms planned for public education in that country.