Date of Award

Fall 10-24-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Elaine Walker, PhD

Committee Member

David Reid, PhD

Committee Member

Howard Walker, EdD

Committee Member

Rhoda Shore, PhD

Keywords

mindfulness, self-regulation, attention, focus

Abstract

The purpose of this research study is to explore schoolteachers’ perceptions and experiences regarding the implementation of mindfulness practices with school-aged elementary students. The concept of mindfulness involves three interrelated mental skills and dispositions: (a) concentrating attention intentionally on the here and now; (b) perceiving the present moment in a calm, clear, and receptive manner; and (c) experiencing each moment just as it is without bias or judgment (Kostanski & Hassed, 2008). As mental health education gains greater priority in schools, interest has increased in the utility of mindfulness practices as one of the key approaches of addressing student well-being.

Interview questions for the teachers focused on the following areas: (a) benefits of mindfulness in teachers’ personal lives, (b) teachers’ goals for implementing mindfulness practices in their classrooms, (c) mindfulness practices teachers implement in pursuit of their defined goals, and (d) teacher assessment of the effectiveness of mindfulness in achieving cognitive performance and social relationship benefits. Qualitative analyses of the ten semi-structured interviews revealed that all teachers felt mindfulness would benefit the emotional regulation of their students and would contribute to students’ abilities to achieve relaxation and to strengthen cognitive skills such as listening and focus. However, the challenges of utilizing mindfulness in the classroom included the limited time for mindfulness implementation within the academic day and student behavioral interruptions. Despite these challenges, the teachers believed that their school’s mindfulness initiative benefited students by increasing their attention skills, self- regulation skills, and social-emotional ability.

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