Supervision and the MBI:TAC

The MBI:TAC is beginning to be used within supervision. Explorations about the use of the MBI:TAC in supervision are happening from the ground up. This is an organic development that continues to evolve as the MBI:TAC becomes more widely used in creative ways. For example, Rosalie Dores, a supervisor within the Mindfulness Network created a mind map of the potentials of the use of the MBI:TAC within supervision, after attending an MBI:TAC training with Rebecca Crane.

The MBI:TAC is about the teacher, the ways in which they embody and convey the teaching of mindfulness, viewed from a developmental perspective. Supervision too is about supporting teachers to grow and develop in the skills and embodiment of mindfulness. Both incorporate bringing in a present moment aliveness and participatory stance. Both aim to shine a light on where a teacher is in their development and guide a clarity about strengths and needs within teaching. The mapping of domains and key features, provides a language to be able to articulate the process of being a teacher. This language opens up a dialogue within supervision that supports a move away from the personal narratives into more objectivity about domains of teaching.

It is also worth highlighting some of the differences in bringing the MBI:TAC into supervision, as opposed to using it as an assessment tool. Assessment includes the summative aspect, there is a degree of making judgements about what is observed in teaching. Whereas in supervision, the MBI:TAC might perhaps be seen less as a tool, and more as a tacit map for exploration, that is not fixed – it grows and changes alongside the teacher. Using the summary version for supervision helps to physically take away rating aspects and focus on the domains, key features and formative reflections.

Within supervision there are co-creations happening – so different supervisory relationships are exploring different ways of bringing in the MBI:TAC. These could be implicit in nature e.g. the way that the supervisor is making sense of what the supervisee is bringing to supervision, the way both are getting a feel for where the supervisees strengths and edges lie, being able to see domains that are not spoken about and those that dominate, a guide to which domains might benefit from further exploration, a way that the supervisee might decide what to bring to supervision through self-reflections using the MBI:TAC.

Supervisors/ees are also bringing the MBI:TAC more explicitly into supervision in some of the following ways: sharing MBI:TAC assessments with supervisors and dialoguing around the feedback, with a view to shaping future intentions within supervision; using the domains for feedback on teaching after live teaching within supervision or viewing recorded clips of teaching, as a way of organising feedback; encouraging both supervisor and supervisee to consider a more diverse range, reflecting in detail on a domain. In term of feedback within supervision, the emphasis might be more on a mutual exploration of strengths and needs. There may be less feedback than on a formal assessment, more highlighting particular key features that may support the supervisees growth at that time – less may be more in supervision.

Working in this way with the MBI:TAC requires a “making friends” with the structure and content; and finding processes that mean it is a useful part of supervision. It could become the “master” and move into more judgement and fear, so a balance and teasing out, working with supervisees needs and learning styles are still paramount. We recommend that it isn’t “rolled out” in a systematic way but rather that choices are made about when it is useful to incorporate into supervision and when to let it rest in the background. Supervisors are encouraged to move through the first three stages of the training pathway to using the MBI:TAC (familiarisation, supporting reflective development, developing teaching sills).

Alison Evans March 2019