Since MiSP was formed in 2007, a number of studies have been conducted on the effects of its programmes on pupils and teachers. Most of these studies are small and do not have long term follow-ups, but they indicate that the programmes are acceptable and that they have potential to improve psychological wellbeing and attention. Studies have measured changes using self-reported scores on questionnaires, computer-based attention tests, and neurological tests, and have compared the results to “control groups” who complete the tests at the same times but do not taken part in the courses. Some indicate that regular practice may be related to benefits, although this relies on self-report.
The Paws .b Curriculum
Charlotte Vickery and Dusana Dorjee at Bangor University have just published results from Charlotte’s PhD indicating that Paws b reduced self-reported negative affect (mood) in children aged seven to nine years old, and improved teacher-reported meta-cognition (such as the children’s ability to initiate and organise work).
The .b Curriculum
Willem Kuyken et al (2013) reported that adolescents who completed .b had significantly lower depressive symptoms and stress, and greater wellbeing.
Other studies include Felicia Huppert and Daniel Johnson’s 2008 pilot study, which was published in Positive Psychology. It indicated that the earliest four lesson version of .b was acceptable to adolescents, and that practice time was related to benefits.
MiSP co-founder Richard Burnett’s paper on how mindfulness might fit into schools was published in The Buddhist Studies Review in 2011.
MiSP Research Advisor Sarah Hennelly’s master’s project on .b indicated that an eight lesson version was associated with improvements in mindfulness, resilience, and wellbeing, and that these benefits were sustained six months later. Interviews with pupils suggested that some felt more confident and academically competent.
Two Educational Psychology Doctoral projects have been completed. They indicated improvements in performance, attention, mood, and relationships
The .b Foundations curriculum
The most recent paper, by Kevanne Sanger and Dusana Dorjee at Bangor University, reported that 17 to 18 year old pupils experienced less mind wandering and hypercritical self-beliefs, and were more able to control their attention (measured using event related potentials, ERP) when they took part in a computerised distraction test. This study is part of Kevanne’s PhD.
Shadi Beshai, Lindi McAlpine, Katherine Weare & Willem Kuyken have just published their findings on the effects of .b Foundations on school teachers. This study reported reduced stress and self-judgement, and improved wellbeing, mindfulness, and self-kindness. This study was part of Lindi’s Master’s in MBCT at Exeter University.
Published papers on mindfulness for school staff
Understanding teachers’ stress is of critical importance to address the challenges in today’s educational climate. Growing numbers of teachers are reporting high levels of occupational stress, and high levels of teacher turnover are having a negative impact on education quality. Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE for Teachers) is a mindfulness-based professional development program designed to promote teachers’ social and emotional competence and improve the quality of classroom interactions. The efficacy of the program was assessed using a cluster randomized trial design involving 36 urban elementary schools and 224 teachers. The CARE for Teachers program involved 30 hr of in-person training in addition to intersession phone coaching. At both pre- and postintervention, teachers completed self-report measures and assessments of their participating students. Teachers’ classrooms were observed and coded using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). Analyses showed that CARE for Teachers had statistically significant direct positive effects on adaptive emotion regulation, mindfulness, psychological distress, and time urgency. CARE for Teachers also had a statistically significant positive effect on the emotional support domain of the CLASS. The present findings indicate that CARE for Teachers is an effective professional development both for promoting teachers’ social and emotional competence and increasing the quality of their classroom interactions.
Interventions which teach mindfulness are proliferating in all sectors, including most recently in education for students and staff. Conclusions here about the benefits of mindfulness for school staff are based on solid evidence of the impact of mindfulness on adults, and a growing and promising evidence base on the impact on children and young people.
Published papers on mindfulness for young people generally
Pre-adolescence is a key developmental period in which complex intrinsic volitional methods of self-regulation are acquired as a result of rapid maturation within the brain networks underlying theself-regulatory processes of attention control and emotion regulation. Fostering adaptive self-regulationskills during this stage of development has strong implications for physical health, emotional and socio-economic outcomes during adulthood. There is a growing interest in mindfulness-based programmesfor pre-adolescents with initial findings suggesting self-regulation improvements, however, neurode-velopmental studies on mindfulness with pre-adolescents are scarce. This analytical review outlinesan integrative neuro-developmental approach, which combines self-report and behavioural assess-ments with event related brain potentials (ERPs) to provide a systemic multilevel understanding ofthe neurocognitive mechanisms of mindfulness in pre-adolescence.
MiSP is proud to announce that the .b curriculum will be used as part of the Wellcome Trust-funded MYRIAD research project. Please click here for more information or if you are interested in getting involved in the project, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
In February this year, MiSP launched an online tool to measure the impact of .b and Paws b for pupils and staff in the classroom. Since then 113 teachers and 2486 pupils have given their feedback on the impact these curricula have had in their lives.
Teachers and pupils in schools nationwide are completing online questionnaires within one month of the last lesson of the course. They report on how much they enjoyed the course and how useful they had found it as well as indicating specific areas of impact such as coping with difficulty, concentration, exams, sleep and noticing more of the ‘good stuff’ in life.
The service was set up so that MiSP could provide members of our Teachers network with a Class Impact Presentation, a useful individual class summary for senior leadership teams, parents, pupils and the teachers themselves. We have now begun to collate the data across all schools and are happy to be able to share some of the wonderful feedback that we have received.
As more data comes in every day the summary of impact that follows will be regularly updated.