Charlotte Todd – Swansea University
Mindfulness is being used around the world in a wide range of settings, with growing interest among schools as an approach to improve the well-being of both staff and pupils.
To teach mindfulness in schools, teachers must firstly learn mindfulness themselves. However, with a push to improve well-being in schools, mindfulness may be an initiative imposed on teachers, as opposed to something they wish to do for their own benefit.
The mindfulness for teachers courses (.b Foundations) are generally shorter, more psychology focused and have less reflection and discussion, compared with the more traditional Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course. Will this make the teachers courses, less effective and less sustainable? What type of mindfulness course should teachers attend?
As part of our study, we set out to compare teachers’ experience of the two courses and examine any changes in symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety
Both courses reduced teacher anxiety and stress, with MBSR having the added benefit of reducing teachers’ depression score.
Attitudes and beliefs about what mindfulness is can act as a large barrier to engagement with mindfulness as it was widely seen as “hippy” “fluffy” and “airy fairy”. As such, attempts to deliver and roll out mindfulness to both teachers should ensure some focus is given to the evidence and science behind the approach and consideration over possibly changing the name of the course so it didn’t mention mindfulness.
The group, the facilitator, the timing and the setting are important factors to consider when delivering mindfulness to teachers.
Results will be disseminated widely to schools through our school networks, in addition to “The Conversation”, social media and attendance through conferences.