Crane et al. (2012) developed a MB teaching competence framework and evaluated its psychometric properties (Crane et al. 2013). This work demonstrated that a group of experi- enced MB teachers can agree on a structured and consistent rubric for assessing MB teaching against criteria and that the tool can be used reliably by experienced MB trainers who are trained in its use.
While it is essential to draw on theory and on the wisdom of expert teachers, it is also essential to build an empirically based body of knowledge about the MB teaching process and a collection of valid empirical methods for conducting research in this area. In this first study of MB teaching to examine naturally occurring material rather than retrospective accounts of participant experience or expert views of the teaching process, we have used CA to investigate what teachers and participants actually do with their talk in MBSR/MBCT. This revealed how turn-taking happens and how the teacher reformulates participant contributions; partic- ular participant competencies that are being trained through dialogue; and the atmosphere of affiliation that is created through the process of interaction in the group. Use of CA reveals the complexity of the interactional work that MB teachers are engaged in when leading participatory dialogue.
There have been some understandable concerns expressed in the field that the positivist outcome-focused research agen- da while promising on one level could lead to teachers deliv- ering the course who are also primarily focused on outcome, rather than being deeply immersed in the practice of mindful- ness on which the whole pedagogy is based. There is a significant imbalance between the large and rapidly expanding outcome evidence base for MB approaches and the surprisingly small empirical literature on the pedagogy by which these effects are arguably created. In our view, the development of a carefully thought through research agenda and empirical literature specifically focussed on investigating the process, and intrinsic qualities of MB teaching would greatly support further thinking on teaching integrity and on
teacher training and development, which is much needed in the context of growing demand for training. It is a challenge that we hope the field will embrace so that there is a growing literature that represents the disciplined improvisation that is the work of the MB teacher.