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Pilot and Feasibility Studies

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Elementary school teachers, Teachers -- Mental health, Teaching -- Psychological aspects, Educational psychology, Mindfulness (Psychology)


Background: Mindfulness-based programs are a novel and promising approach for supporting teachers’ occupational health and well-being. Although rationales for mindfulness programs for teachers have been offered, the empirical research base evaluating approaches for educating teachers in mindfulness is still developing. This study reports the findings of a pilot study of a mindfulness-based program. This study is unique in that it is one of the only studies of the Mindfulness-Based Emotional Balance (MBEB) program to focus on early elementary teachers, to be implemented by a new instructor, and to recruit teachers via extrinsic motivators.

Methods: A pre-post, uncontrolled pilot study of a 27.5-h mindfulness-based program for teachers was conducted with 21 pre-kindergarten–third-grade teachers from the Pacific Northwest of the USA. Program acceptability was assessed based on attendance and teacher reports of program benefits. Effect sizes for within-person changes (from pre- to post-program) in teachers’ skills and mindsets, well-being, occupational health, and teaching practices were calculated. Teachers also suggested improvements to the program.

Results: With regard to program attendance and acceptability, teachers attended 87% of sessions, with 58% of teachers reporting a personal benefit and 58% of teachers reporting a professional benefit of the program. Effect sizes for changes in teachers’ skills and mindsets ranged from small to large, |d| = 0.30 to 0.83, and ranged from small to medium for changes in teachers’ well-being |d| = 0.07 to 0.48, occupational health |d| = 0.14 to 0.39, and teaching practices |d| = 0.15 to 0.48. Teachers suggested shortening the program and linking it more closely to their work in the classroom.

Conclusions: This study suggests that the MBEB program may be beneficial to early elementary teachers, even when implemented by someone other than the program developer, and when provided with extrinsic motivation to participate (more closely mapping to a larger-scale trial of the program). Teachers’ suggestions regarding program length and structure are considered, along with useful avenues for future research on mindfulness-based programs for teachers.


© The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.


Originally appeared in Pilot and Feasibility Studies, vol 6, no. 1. Published by BMC.



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