The mirroring effect of teaching mindfulness to students
30 Jul 2019
As the use of mindfulness has increased globally, its importance in education has also been recognised. Though it is not yet on any curriculum, it is being used in schools around the world to improve pupils’ well-being, mental health, social and emotional learning, concentration and cognition. Many schools are now enrolling their teachers on mindfulness courses too, so that they can eventually teach these skills to their pupils, without relying on external specialists.
Teaching mindfulness to teachers not only gives them the skills and knowledge to progress onto further courses to be able to teach it to children, but it may also have the added benefit of improving their own well-being. And, as better teacher well-being is associated with better pupil well-being, there are clear wider benefits to them learning it too.
The styles of the two courses are quite different – .b Foundations consist of eight 90 minute sessions as opposed to eight two hour sessions, with no silent practice day. It can take more of a interactive classroom style approach, including optional slide presentations and includes reference to the neuroscience underpinning the mindfulness.
For our recently published study, which involved 44 teachers from UK primary and secondary schools, we decided to find out how teachers’ mental health and well-being benefits from different mindfulness courses, and what they think about them. We did questionnaires on stress and depression levels and interviewed a sample of the teachers who had taken the courses on their experiences.