Mindfulness in Education Research Highlights

studentsMindfulness in Education Research Highlights, an annotated bibliography of mindfulness studies, was published last month by Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

A user-friendly list (and downloadable PDF) of 34 selected articles presents brief descriptions of each study and its results. Although mindfulness studies are still in early stages and measuring the effects of mindfulness is challenging, this overview shows encouraging potential benefits of mindfulness practices for students, teachers, and administrators.



Mindfulness for Students

Greater Good

27 articles summarize studies on mindfulness-based practices with children and adolescents.  Results show various improvements in student’s well being, self-regulation, attention, social skills, academic performance, and more.

Below are a few highlights of the highlights.

Mindfulness-based interventions in schools: A systematic review and meta-analysis.  Zenner, Herrnleben-Kurz, & Walach (2014).

This article systematically reviews the evidence regarding the effects of school-based mindfulness interventions on psychological outcomes. Twenty-four studies were identified. In total, 1348 students were instructed in mindfulness, ranging from grade 1 to 12. All in all, mindfulness-based interventions in children and youths hold promise, particularly in relation to improving cognitive performance and resilience to stress.

Learning to BREATHE: A pilot trial of a mindfulness curriculum for adolescents.  Broderick & Metz (2009). 

This study reports the results of a pilot trial of Learning to BREATHE, a mindfulness curriculum for adolescents created for a classroom setting. The primary goal of the program is to support the development of emotion regulation skills through the practice of mindfulness. The total class of 120 seniors from a private girls’ school participated as part of their health curriculum. Relative to controls, participants reported decreased negative affect and increased feelings of calmness, relaxation, and self-acceptance. Improvements in emotion regulation and decreases in tiredness and aches and pains were significant in the treatment group at the conclusion of the program.

Promoting mindful attention to enhance social-emotional resiliency in children. Semple, Lee, Rosa, & Miller (2010).

This study evaluated a mindfulness-based cognitive therapy program for children aged 9–13. Participants were mostly ethnic minorities from low-income, inner-city households. Participants who completed the program showed fewer attention problems than controls and those improvements were maintained at three months following the intervention. Significant reductions in anxiety symptoms and behavior problems were found for those children who reported clinically elevated levels of anxiety.

The effectiveness of mindfulness training for children with ADHD and mindful parenting for their parents. Van der Oord, Bogels, & Peijnenburg (2012).

This study evaluated the effectiveness of an 8-week mindfulness training for children aged 8–12 with ADHD and parallel mindful parenting training for their parents. There was a significant reduction of parent-rated ADHD behavior of themselves and their child. Further, there was a significant increase of mindful awareness and a significant reduction of parental stress and over-reactivity.

Mindfulness for Teachers and Administrators

teachers researchStudies in 7 articles indicate that mindfulness may be effective for reducing stress and burnout in teachers and administrators as well.

2 of these articles are summarized below.

Mindfulness Training (MT) and reductions in teacher stress and burnout.  Roeser, Schonert-Reichi, Jha, et al, (2013).

The sample included 113 elementary and secondary school teachers (89% female) from Canada and the United States.  Teachers randomized to MT showed greater mindfulness, focused attention and working memory capacity, and occupational self-compassion, as well as lower levels of occupational stress and burnout.

Principals responding to constant pressure: Finding a source of stress management. Wells (2013).

This conceptual article presents a review of the research concerning the stress level of principals over the past three decades.  Mindfulness meditation, as a stress management intervention, provides the theoretical background for this article. The scientific evidence concerning benefits of mindfulness meditation are reviewed, along with suggestions for the prevention and reduction of stress for principals.

 Blog Series – Mercer Island Panel Discussion

  1. Mindfulness in the Mercer Island Schools Introduction to a Panel Discussion held on May 22 in Mercer Island, WA. Includes background of presenters and links to mindfulness curriculums.
  2. Teaching Mindfulness and Heartfulness in Mercer Island Elementary Schools.  Teaching the core mindfulness practice and creating a mindfulness community at the elementary school level.  6.30.14
  3. Teens Crave Mindful Moments – Mercer Island Schools.  Teaching mindfulness at the middle and high school levels.  7.14.14
  4. Mindfulness in Education Research Highlights.  Resources for research on mindfulness education.  10.15.14