Conceptualizing the Mindful Teacher: Examining Evidence for Mindfulness Skills in Teachers’ Classroom Speech and Behavior

Cynthia Lynn Taylor, Portland State University


Mindfulness-based interventions can improve teachers’ capacities for attention and emotion regulation, as well as their prosocial dispositions like compassion and forgiveness. The purpose of this set of research studies (including three case studies and a larger non-randomized treatment – control group quasi-experimental study) was to examine whether or not capacities like these, learned through participation in a mindfulness training (MT) program for teachers, become embodied and show through as changes in teachers’ mindful behavior in the classroom – specifically, their ability to be calm, clear-minded and kind-hearted in their speech and behavior with students in the classroom. These studies used first-person, teacher reports and third-person, observer measures to assess potential MT-program-related impacts on changes in teachers’ classroom speech and behavior over time. Results from survey and interview data showed change in teachers’ perceptions of their mindful classroom behavior. The case studies showed evidence of change in teachers’ calm, clear and kind classroom speech and behavior as rated by observers. Results in the larger study again showed change in treatment teachers’ perception of their mindfulness in the classroom over time compared to controls, but no evidence was found for observed changes in speech or behavior in the classroom. Methodological, developmental and intervention-related interpretations and implications of the findings are presented and directions for future research are discussed.