Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Program for Teachers on Teacher Wellbeing and Person-Centered Teaching Practices
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The present study investigated whether and how an 8-week mindfulness-based program for teachers influences teacher wellbeing and person-centered teaching practices that emphasize the quality of student-teacher relationships.
In the present mixed-methods design study, we analyzed three data sets from a larger study. Sixty teachers (25 from the experimental group and 35 from the control group) participated in classroom observations that examined teachers’ verbal behavior while interacting with their students. Of these, 48 teachers completed self-report measures. Of these 48 teachers, 10 teachers took part in individual interviews and shared their experience of learning mindfulness and self-compassion.
Findings of a mixed-model ANOVA showed improvements in person-centered teaching practices as demonstrated by reduced teacher talk, increased indirectivity in teaching, and increased student talk immediately and 6 weeks after participating in the mindfulness-based program. Mindfulness scores that changed from pre- to post-intervention, as reported by teachers, showed a moderate positive relationship with teacher indirect talk (i.e., encouraging student behavior, accepting students’ ideas) and a moderate negative relationship with teacher direct talk (i.e., lecturing) observed by researchers 6 weeks following the intervention. Findings of interviews illustrated how learning to be mindful and self-compassionate can function as self-help skills, elucidated interconnectivity between teachers and students, and promoted person-centered teaching practices that are indirect, warm, and empathic.
The findings provide some evidence as to how learning to be mindful and self-compassionate at school can contribute to changes in teacher wellbeing and person-centered teaching practices.
KeywordsMindfulness Self-compassion Teacher verbal behavior Person-centered teaching Teacher wellbeing
Our sincere gratitude goes to the research participants who opened their classrooms for observations and shared their experience of learning to be mindful and self-compassionate and Mind with Heart for implementing the intervention. We are indebted to Professor Harvey Goldstein who has provided invaluable support for research methodology throughout the project and Dr. Stan Blank who generously shared the software program developed for his PhD, the Automated Data Collection and Analysis System for the Flanders Interaction Analysis System. We also thank the staff of Metropolitan Region, Organisational Health, Department of Education, Queensland and Business Engagement and Development, Department of education, NSW for their valuable support. This project was supported by a medical research grant awarded by Teachers Health Foundation.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the human ethics committee of Australian Catholic University and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants.
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