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Taking a Break from the ‘School Machine’: Understanding the Intended Purposes of School-Based Mindfulness Amongst Teachers

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Part of the Transdisciplinary Perspectives in Educational Research book series (TPER,volume 4)

Abstract

From the outset, research on school-based mindfulness has mainly been occupied with the question of effect; of whether mindfulness is effective in fulfilling a preconceived purpose or purposes (e.g. stress reduction). This raises the question of how to determine the purpose of school-based mindfulness in the first place – where and how can one locate this purpose? This article explores the intentions and purposes of introducing mindfulness in schools amongst teachers who have integrated mindfulness in their teaching. Based on a qualitative study comprising interviews with 16 Danish teachers and participant observation of 2 month-long mindfulness courses, the article contextualises and explores the intended purposes of applications of mindfulness in educational settings such as schools. The analysis is carried out by employing a conceptual distinction between instrumental purposes on one side and transformative purposes on the other. It is argued that, whilst such a distinction can be applied analytically, teachers show a clear ambivalence in their understandings of this schism as a condition for bringing mindfulness into schools – an ambivalence that has implications when rethinking the relationship between mindfulness and students’ wellbeing.

Keywords

  • Mindfulness
  • School-based mindfulness
  • Mindfulness-based interventions
  • Schooling
  • Wellbeing
  • Educational purposes

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The study was part of a Ph.D.-project on the uses of contemplative practices in Danish public schools. The project was funded by the Graduate School of Arts, Aarhus University together with a travel grant from the Elite Research Initiative by the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education.

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Correspondence to Nis Langer Primdahl .

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Primdahl, N.L. (2022). Taking a Break from the ‘School Machine’: Understanding the Intended Purposes of School-Based Mindfulness Amongst Teachers. In: McLellan, R., Faucher, C., Simovska, V. (eds) Wellbeing and Schooling. Transdisciplinary Perspectives in Educational Research, vol 4. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-95205-1_6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-95205-1_6

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

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