Course Description

In today’s schools, teachers are expected to meet the needs of diverse students and colleagues, and yet many teachers report feeling unprepared because they do not have the social and cultural competencies needed. This interdisciplinary synchronous online course Mindfulness as Human Action: Mindful Cross-Cultural Action Research uses qualitative and quantitative grounded theory to identify cognitive processes of information as behavioral changes demonstrating cultural competency occur. This work requires explicit teaching and practice around becoming aware of unknown assumptions. This course does not use mindfulness practices, such as meditation, yoga, etc. This course has the Mindfulness into Action (MIA) platform– which goes beyond traditional paradigms because, uses Indigenous knowledge to take action, given that Indigenous people have a broad knowledge of how to live sustainably. While doing Action Research, this course will teach students how to use grounded theory, as well as the use of NVivo in data analysis. The MIA methodology focuses on leadership skills development, in the area of diversity issues within organizational settings.

This course is designed to hone leadership skills through discussions, readings, presentations, and sharing of experiences around identity and critical awareness in the classroom. This course trains students in how to be transformational leaders who can address and resolve tension around diversity issues within organizational settings where they will work/consult. The goal is to create an authentic affirming space for students to transcend their own limiting beliefs and to empower themselves as teachers. The course involves a leadership skills development methodology implemented by the Professor with the Kichwa Indigenous community of Rio Blanco in the Amazon. Through the use of Indigenous knowledge, MIA leadership skills development methodology has been shown through research to facilitate participant observation of their unknown behaviors (mindset). The process includes cycles of reflection (reflexivity) in conjunction with Indigenous practices. Data (Vergara, 2016) has suggested that participants trained in this methodology develop a sense of being in a constant state of awareness (mindfulness)—as an attribute deemed vital for leaders being able to work in tune with those around them in diverse organizational settings.

The methodology is relevant to those interested in addressing diversity issues within organizations, given this work starts from the insight that many personal and societal issues occur as a result of people being unaware of their taken-for-granted assumptions at a subconscious level. Those trained in this methodology are able to tap into various faculties of their conscious mind that are normally inaccessible when in a purely reactive state—leading to greater clarity when addressing diversity issues, or, more broadly, when making decisions for themselves, their families, and society at large. To achieve the course objectives, students learn to engage in action research with grounded theory. The use of an open-ended form of grounded theory facilitates studying ways of thinking and perceiving social (social psychological) processes in social settings. Also, through the use of NVivo data analysis in course projects, participants obtain valuable research skills.

Course Expectations

  • Even more than others, this course requires participation. It will operate as a think tank using Action Inquiry. The priority will be on critical Self-awareness. A week before classes, you will receive an email asking you to begin the reflection exercises, and to work in your autobiography. It is expected to present this work the first day of classes.


  • Process Journal for Writing Reflections. We will discuss in class our daily and weekly reflections. *It is imperative that you check your email, Google documents/ folders, and Moodle each week. Please stay current with your weekly writing/ reflection work and submit your work each week before class.


  • Students are expected to attend all class meetings and actively engage and participate in course experiences. Engaged participation means coming to class on time prepared to share your thinking and learning, completing daily assignments, taking an active role in discussions and group work, giving your full attention to tasks, and so on. We will further discuss standards and expectations for our learning community during our first class. *Attendance will be taken. Please email me if an absence cannot be avoided. You are responsible for getting notes and handouts for any class you miss.


  • Defining and Sharing Your Personal Beliefs A key tenet of this methodology involves studying what makes learning communities work effectively and how we, as individuals, can promote and cultivate this work. Research shows that students with higher emotional intelligence are better prepared to manage their emotional lives so that they can focus, learn, and do their best in school. You will develop practices to help hone your self-reflective skills that will support you in defining what really matters to you in your teaching practice. Given that context, you will be asked to create daily practices of reflection and writing in your process journal. Your daily practice will lead you to align and prioritize your core values and beliefs. Finally, you will have the opportunity to creatively share these with the class.


  • The implementation of the methodology will be a culmination of your fieldwork course experience, and showcasing your self-awareness. More details will be provided when doing the MIA methdology in class, and class work time will be given for assignments. Through discussions, readings, presentations, and sharing of experiences, students provide each week after class with a reflection of what they realized in the class. Students will define ways to support lifelong personal professional development and growth. Study effective means of bringing learning communities together and consider personal responsibilities in supporting this growth. Consider ways to enhance teaching and fine-tune instructional practices. Articulate personal teaching beliefs and how personal practices reflect them. Become thoughtful and reflective, and aware individuals. Learn techniques and methods of leadership and staff development. Students will explore current issues in education and less traditional learning communities.