Results of a Mindfulness-Based Social-Emotional Learning Program on Portuguese Elementary Students and Teachers: a Quasi-Experimental Study
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Recently, mindfulness-based social-emotional learning (SEL) approaches have been taught to children in some schools. Due to deficient methodological consistency observed in most studies, their results should be interpreted with caution. Moreover, research on how mindfulness-based SEL approaches benefit teachers is scarce, and the majority of these studies have been conducted in English-speaking countries; therefore, it is uncertain whether these approaches are suited to other cultural backgrounds. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of the MindUp curriculum, an SEL program through mindfulness practice for Portuguese students and teachers. Participants included 454 3rd and 4th grade students and 20 teachers from state schools. A quasi-experimental (pre- and post-test) study compared outcomes for an experimental group with a waitlist control group. Data were collected from teachers and children through self-report measures. Results showed that over 50 % of the children who participated in the MindUp program scored above the control group mean in their ability to regulate emotions, to experience more positive affect, and to be more self-compassionate, and over 50 % scored lower in negative affect. In the group of teachers, over 80 % scored above the control group mean in observing, in personal accomplishment, and in self-kindness. Our results contribute to the recent research on the potential added value of mindfulness practices to a SEL program and strengthen the importance for teachers and students of adding to the academic curriculum a SEL program through mindfulness practices.
KeywordsSocial and emotional skills Mindfulness Children Teachers Schools
This research was funded by grants (SFRH/BD/77542/2011) from the Science and Technology Foundation, Portugal.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed involving human participants were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the Scientific and Ethical Council of the Faculty of Psychology, University of Lisbon and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained for all child participants (children >7 years) through written parental consent and by all the teachers involved in the study.
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