The research reported here was supported in part by a training grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (R305B090007). The second author was supported by the Bennett Pierce Chair in Care and Compassion during the preparation of this manuscript. This research was also supported by funding from the Gates Foundation to Education Support District 12.
Pilot and Feasibility Studies
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.
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Braun, S. S., Roeser, R. W., & Mashburn, A. J. (2020). Results from a pre-post, uncontrolled pilot study of a mindfulness-based program for early elementary school teachers. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 6(1), 1-12.