Maximizing Mindful Learning: Mindful Awareness Intervention Improves Elementary School Students’ Quarterly Grades

Abstract

This paper discusses results from the first empirical study testing the feasibility and effectiveness of an audio-guided mindful awareness training program on quarterly grade performance in traditional US public elementary schools. Structured as a quasi-experiment, the study demonstrates that a 10-min-per-day, fully automated program significantly enhances students’ quarterly grades in reading and science, compared to a control group, without disrupting teaching operations (N = 191). The intervention utilized a series of guided mindful-based awareness and attention focusing practices as the method for students to engage with social and emotional learning (SEL) concepts, and can thus be called a “mindful-based social emotional learning” (MBSEL) program. The program is innovative because it requires neither expert trainers skilled in mindful awareness nor changes to existing curriculum; thus, it can be considered both teacher-independent and curriculum supportive. The goal of this exploratory study was to facilitate a consistent daily mindful awareness practice that generates improvements in student outcomes for resource- and time-constrained K–12 classrooms in the USA and elsewhere. The authors discuss limitations of this study and suggestions for further research on how to use mindful awareness programs to enhance academic performance both effectively and pragmatically.

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Correspondence to Jutta M. Tobias.

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Bakosh, L.S., Snow, R.M., Tobias, J.M. et al. Maximizing Mindful Learning: Mindful Awareness Intervention Improves Elementary School Students’ Quarterly Grades. Mindfulness 7, 59–67 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-015-0387-6

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Keywords

  • Mindful-based social and emotional learning (MBSEL)
  • Academic achievement
  • K–12 education
  • Mindful awareness in education
  • Readiness to learn
  • MBSR