Integrating Mindfulness Training into K-12 Education: Fostering the Resilience of Teachers and Students
- 13k Downloads
Over the past decade, training in mindfulness—the intentional cultivation of moment-by-moment non-judgmental focused attention and awareness—has spread from its initial western applications in medicine to other fields, including education. This paper reviews research and curricula pertaining to the integration of mindfulness training into K-12 education, both indirectly by training teachers and through direct teaching of students. Research on the neurobiology of mindfulness in adults suggests that sustained mindfulness practice can enhance attentional and emotional self-regulation and promote flexibility, pointing toward significant potential benefits for both teachers and students. Early research results on three illustrative mindfulness-based teacher training initiatives suggest that personal training in mindfulness skills can increase teachers’ sense of well-being and teaching self-efficacy, as well as their ability to manage classroom behavior and establish and maintain supportive relationships with students. Since 2005, 14 studies of programs that directly train students in mindfulness have collectively demonstrated a range of cognitive, social, and psychological benefits to both elementary (six studies) and high school (eight studies) students. These include improvements in working memory, attention, academic skills, social skills, emotional regulation, and self-esteem, as well as self-reported improvements in mood and decreases in anxiety, stress, and fatigue. The educational goals, target population, and core features of ten established mindfulness-based curricula are described. Finally, the need for more rigorous scientific evidence of the benefits of mindfulness-based interventions in K-12 education is discussed, along with suggestions of specific process, outcome, and research-design questions remaining to be answered.
KeywordsAttention regulation Emotional self-regulation Mindful teaching Mindfulness-based stress reduction Social–emotional learning Stress
The authors wish to thank Pat Ansay, Raymond Dewar, Paul Jones, Myla Kabat-Zinn, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Susan Kaiser-Greenland, Suzie Shaw, Nimrod Sheinman, Dennis Shirley, Angela West, Cheryl Harlan, and Trisha Stotler for their support and insightful comments. No funding or institutional support was received for this project. The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest.
- Burke, C. (2010). Mindfulness-based approaches with children and adolescents: A preliminary review of current research in an emergent field. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19, 133–144. doi: 10.1007/s10826-009-9282-x.
- Gatz, K. L., & Roemer, L. (2004). Multidimensional assessment of emotion regulation and dysregulation: Development, factor structure, and initial validation of the difficulties in emotion regulation scale. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 26, 41–54. doi: 10.1023/B:JOBA.0000007455.08539.94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Greco, L. A., Baer, R. A., & Smith, G. T. (2011). Assessing mindfulness in children and adolescents: Development and validation of the Child and Adolescent Mindfulness Measure (CAMM). Psychological Assessment, 23, 606–614. doi: 10.1037/a0022819.
- Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K., & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and commitment therapy: An experiential approach to behavior change. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Hicks, S., & Bien, T. (2008). Mindfulness and the therapeutic relationship. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Huppert, F. A., & Johnson, D. A. (2010). A controlled trial of mindfulness training in schools: The importance of practice for an impact on well-being. Journal of Positive Psychology, 5, 264–274. doi: 10.1080/17439761003794148
- Jennings, P. (2009). Garrison Institute’s CARE Program for Teachers Receives Federal Funding. Retrieved January 16, 2011, from: http://www.garrisoninstitute.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=108&Itemid=1138&limitstart=40.
- Jennings, P. A. (2011). Promoting teachers’ social and emotional competencies to support performance and reduce burnout. In A. Cohan & A. Honigsfeld (Eds.), Breaking the mold of pre-service and in-service teacher education: Innovative and successful practices for the 21st century (pp. 133–143). New York: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Jennings, P. A., Snowberg, K. E., Coccia, M. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2011). Improving classroom learning environments by cultivating awareness and resilience in education (CARE): Results of two pilot studies. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 46(1), 37–48.Google Scholar
- Jennings, P. A., Lantieri, L., & Roeser, R. W. (2011). Supporting educational goals through cultivating mindfulness: Approaches for teachers and students. In A. Higgins-D’Alessandro, M. Corrigan and P. Brown (eds.), Handbook of prosocial education. (in press). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain and illness. New York: Bantam Dell.Google Scholar
- Kerrigan, D., Johnson, K., Stewart, M., Magyari, T., Hutton, N., Ellen, J. M., et al. (2011). Perceptions, experiences, and shifts in perspective occurring among urban youth participating in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 17(2), 96–101. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.08.003.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lee, J., Semple, R. J., Rosa, D., & Miller, L. (2008). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for children: Results of a pilot study. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 22(1), 15–28. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/0889.83184.108.40.206.
- Liehr, P., & Diaz, N. (2010). A pilot study examining the effect of mindfulness on depression and anxiety for minority children. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 69–71. doi: 10.1016/j.apnu.2009.10.001.
- Linehan, M. M., Comtois, K. A., Murray, A. M., Brown, M. Z., Gallop, R. J., Heard, H. L., et al. (2006). Two-year randomized controlled trial and follow-up of dialectical behavior therapy vs therapy by experts for suicidal behaviors and borderline personality disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 63, 757–766.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Metis Associates. (2011). Building inner resilience in teachers and their students: Results of the inner resilience pilot program. Retrieved June 1, 2011 from the Inner Resilience Program web site: http://innerresilience.org/documents/IRP_Pilot_Program_Results_AERA2011_updated_6.9.pdf.
- National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (2007). The science of early childhood development. Retrieved on December 10, 2010 from http://www.developingchild.net.
- Poulin, P. A. (2009). Mindfulness-based wellness education: A longitudinal evaluation with students in initial teacher education. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.Google Scholar
- Poulin, P. A., Mackenzie, C. S., Soloway, G., & Karayolas, E. (2008). Mindfulness training as an evidenced-based approach to reducing stress and promoting well-being among human services professionals. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 46, 35–43.Google Scholar
- Saltzman, A., & Goldin, P. (2008). Mindfulness based stress reduction for school-age children. In S. C. Hayes & L. A. Greco (Eds.), Acceptance and mindfulness interventions for children adolescents and families (pp. 139–161). Oakland: Context Press/New Harbinger.Google Scholar
- Schwartz, J. M., & Begley, S. (2002). The mind and the brain: Neuroplasticity and the power of mental force. New York: Regan Books an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers.Google Scholar
- Semple, R. J., Lee, J., Rosa, D., & Miller, L. F. (2009). A randomized trial of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for children: Promoting mindful attention to enhance social-emotional resiliency in children. Journal of Child and Family Studies. doi: 10.1007/s10826-10009-19301-y.
- Siegel, D. J. (1999). The developing mind: How relationships and the brain interact to shape who we are. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Soloway, G. B. (2011). Preparing teachers for the present: Exploring the praxis of mindfulness training in teacher education. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Toronto, Ontario.Google Scholar
- Soloway, G. B., Poulin, A., & Mackenzie, C. S. (2011). Preparing new teachers for the full catastrophe of the 21st century classroom: Integrating mindfulness training into initial teacher education. In A. Cohan & A. Honigsfeld (Eds.), Breaking the mold of pre-service and in-service teacher education (pp. 221–227). Lanham: R and L Education.Google Scholar
- Tortora, S. (2005). The dancing dialogue: Using the communicative power of movement with young children (1st ed.). Baltimore: Paul H. Brooks Publishing Co.Google Scholar
- Wasson, J. M. (Dec.2010/Jan.2011). The power of being heard. Educational Leadership, 68 (4), The Effective Educator. Retrieved August 15,2011 from: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/dec10/vol68/num04/The-Power-of-Being-Heard.aspx.
- West, A. M. (2008). Mindfulness and well-being in adolescence: An exploration of four mindfulness measures with an adolescent sample. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B. Sciences and Engineering, 69(05), 3283.Google Scholar
- West, A. M., Sbraga, T. P., & Poole, D. A. (2007). Measuring mindfulness in youth: Development of the Mindful Thinking and Action Scale for Adolescents. Unpublished manuscript, Central Michigan University.Google Scholar
- What Works Clearinghouse. (2008). WWC procedure and standards handbook. Washington, DC: Retrieved January 1, 2009 from: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/doc.aspx?docid=19&tocid=1.