Centre for Mindful Educational Leadership
Director: Tim Saunders PhD
Pathway Lead for MA (Education) Leadership and Lecturer in Initial Teacher Education, Edge Hill University
CENTRE FIELDS OF STUDY AND PRACTICE
ELD: Educational Leadership and Management
Sustainable Leadership for Planetary Flourishing
ESD: Education for Sustainable Development
Sustainability Education for Regenerative Futures
RWE: Religion and Wordviews Education
Sustainable Spirituality for Wicked Problems
P4C: Philosophy for Children, Colleges & Communities
Communities of Inquiry for Sustainable Thinking
ACADEMIC RESEARCH PROJECTS
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
I first came to live in the north west of England as a student at Manchester University in 1985 and having lived and worked nomadically here ever since, I eventually settled in Liverpool, a stone’s throw from the Mersey estuary. I count both city regions home and it is the living waterways of the Mersey rivers, many streams one river, that define this bioregion and ground my one planet thinking and living theory.
I have a wealth of experience that includes Primary School teaching (7 years), Headteacher (14 years), University lecturing (8 years), Thinking Skills training in schools (10 years), and Organisational Development Consultant (6 years).
I have taken a BA Hons in Theology and Religious Studies (Manchester University), MA in Educational Management (Open University), PhD in School Leadership (Liverpool University). My teaching qualifications include a PGCE Primary (Manchester University), PGCert ODE Online & Distance Education (Open University) and PGCTHE Postgraduate Certificate for Teaching in Higher Education (Edge Hill University).
In order to maintain my own personal mindfulness practice I have followed three life practices for a number of years:
• Practice 1 Mindfulness-based Compassionate Living and self-directed Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy
• Practice 2 Sufi meditation as a path to mindfulness, living presence and the essential self via the most beautiful names – Al Asma Ul Husna (أسماء الله الحسنى)
• Practice 3 Yang Style Tai Chi, (24 step Taijiquan otherwise known as the Beijing form, the most prevalent simplified exercise form in China) and Ba Duan Jin Qigong 八段錦 (8 Pieces of Brocade)
I do not adhere to any one school of philosophy but support the revival of philosophy as a way of life and have affinities with the traditions of American Pragmatism, Russian Personalism, Nordic Metamodernism, English Pluralism, Andalusian Sufism and buddhist influenced Middle Way philosophy. Those who have most inspired the educational thinking that informs the multimodal practitioner synthesis include John Heron, Walter Watson, David Dilworth, Matthew Lipman, Kieran Egan, Michael Schiro, David Cooperider, Bruce Tukcman, Daniel Goleman, Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn, Tony Bush, Mike Bottery, Annick de Witt, Tony Hodgson, JG Bennett, Hanzi Freinacht, and Arnim Wiek. The map of practices was inspired by the Personal Synthesis of Nash Popovic. My inspiration for developing ‘middle way philosophy of education’ derives from the work of Robert M. Ellis.
Centre for Mindful Educational Leadership
I created EduSynthesis to support academic research in metamodern leadership theory and integrative leadership for learning. The Integrative Leadership Framework seeks to construct Educational Leadership as the intercultural mediation of Kinship, Traditional, Modern and Postmodern Worldviews in a time of culture wars; and as the moral interdependence of Generative, Contemplative, Progressive and Transformative practice in a time between worlds.
The Mindful Leadership Development meta-model seeks to integrate Somatic, Contemplative, Cognitive and Organisational forms of Mindfulness as a means of supporting mindfulness-based compassionate leadership development and school development: mindful coaching for the wellbeing of leaders and coaching in mindful leadership for the wellbeing of schools.
The Multimodal Practitioner Synthesis of the Educative Middle Way aims to model how practitioners can develop their own big picture synthesis of educational theory by mapping modalities and modes of integrative practice at four different scales: personal, pedagogical, professional and planetary.
Mindful Support Network
Beyond teaching and research, the Mindfulness-based Leadership Development model is adapted to inform and facilitate a peer support network specialising in mindful co-coaching, co-counselling and peer action learning. In addition to my academic and educational qualifications I am affiliated with Co-counselling International (UK), having undertaken the minimum 40 hours training to practice as a Co-counsellor and an additional 80 hours co-training other coco practitioners.
I am also a certified teacher and practitioner of the Narrative Enneagram having completed the professional training program with Helen Palmer and David Daniels in 2007. This involved 270 hours of professional training encompassing Foundation, Typing Practitioner and Panel/Teacher training, plus many hours of practice.
In the UK I am affiliated to Enneagram Alive and subscribe to its Code of Ethics and am a participant in the Independent Practitioner Network.
I have worked with Tim on many occasions in the areas of organisational development through Appreciative Inquiry, and the training of coaching skills. I am consistently impressed with his knowledge of theory, his quick wit and his ability to engage with all kinds of groups.
Mr Saunders was one of the very few excellent teachers I have been taught by. Even thought It was over 25 years ago, such a positive experience stays with you forever. He was always able to think out of the box and deliver such interesting ways of teaching the simplest of things. Teaching a class to play chess, combining art into story writing and developing our “joined up writing” skills were all part of class 6 daily life, but having someone who instilled confidence and belief in each and everyone of us, no matter what our background or ability was a quality Tim brought to the classroom every day.
Tim is able to apply his wide range of skills to a wide variety of organisational development needs and professional fields beyond education. I have worked with him on many occasions and never fail to be impressed by his unique insights and creative approach. He is an accomplished events organiser and group facilitator encouraging user engagement in evaluating & improving services through appreciative inquiry. He speaks from the heart, is an idealist in the best possible sense with huge understanding and knowledge and would be an asset to any organisation concerned with people development.
Dr Tim has excellent temperament, is a brilliant creative thinker, a great team player, always willing to give others credit and motivate them. He has an “expert knowledge” leadership style. He can command respect because of his ability to effortlessly convey his expertise to those working with him. He is methodical and creative. This ensures that he continually inspires those around him to excel at their jobs. Dr Tim has excellent interpersonal skills. He was equally at ease conversing with pupils, staff, parents or governors. A good listener who would accommodate different styles for people to achieve a common goal. My fellow governors and I would employ him again, without reservation. He is well suited for any roles that involve development, expansion, or diversification at a senior strategic level.
Dr Saunders led on whole-school Teaching and Learning 3-16 with great skill and care, demonstrating excellent knowledge within a newly structured leadership team, and introducing a high impact Teaching and Learning strategy using split-screen teaching to improve learning dispositions and thinking skills across the age range. This project demonstrated his organizational skills and very good management of whole-school planning. I was impressed with the way a primary expert quickly gained the confidence of secondary teachers who enthusiastically put his recommendations into practice.
Dr Timothy Saunders successfully combines academic rigour with leadership skills in ways that are rare. He integrates effectively his very substantial and diverse experience of educational management with an exceptional capacity to draw upon and apply a wide range of thinking – across many different disciplines – in ways are that fresh, creative and fertile. He demonstrates flair, imagination and lateral thinking, or thinking ‘outside the box.’ Tim is well-equipped to make a very valuable contribution to teaching, consultancy and research work.