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Mindfulness in Education: Insights Towards an Integrative Paradigm


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The collective empirical and published data demonstrate that mindfulness in education can be framed and implemented in a variety of ways, applied towards various aims, deliver a multitude of potential outcomes, and support the betterment of both students and teachers. Embedded in these many approaches are assumptions about the goals of education, the role of mindfulness-based pedagogies in it, how mindfulness should be taught, who should deliver it, and how to evaluate outcomes. Mindfulness in education is in congruence with many principles and visions of positive psychology. This chapter presents an overview of mindfulness in education around the world and summarizes the knowledge accumulated from various perspectives and practices worldwide. The chapter centres mostly on the learners’ domain (school-age children, 6–18 years old), with reference to the role of educators. It describes the evolution of mindfulness in education and its role within a holistic and integrative future education paradigm. Relevant and conceivable relationship with positive education is discussed.
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Mindfulness in Education: Insights Towards
an Integrative Paradigm
Nimrod Sheinman and Pninit Russo-Netzer
Within the past few decades, an increased interest in the concepts and appli-
cations of mindfulness in education has generated an extensive range of initia-
tives, programs, and delivery approaches worldwide. Explorations, applica-
tions, integrations, and research projects of mindfulness in education have
become prevalent in schools, kindergartens, schools of education, teacher in-
service trainings, and higher education. Mindfulness was introduced into the
education field in hopes of enhancing wellbeing, mental health, social and
emotional skills, resilience, prosocial behaviour, and academic performance.
The number of peer-reviewed publications relating to mindfulness in educa-
tion is rising exponentially, and the topic is being discussed in international
bodies such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Orga-
nization (UNESCO), The Organization for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD), the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum.
The interest in mindfulness and its benefits has expanded since it was
first introduced into medicine at the end of the 1970s to help people with
chronic health issues cope with their pain, stress, and illness. Originally an
N. Sheinman (B)
Israel Center for Mindfulness in Education, Kadima, Israel
P. Russo-Netzer
Achva Academic College, Arugot, Israel
University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
© The Author(s) 2021
M. L. Kern and M. L. Wehmeyer (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Positive Education,
610 N. Sheinman and P. Russo-Netzer
integrated element of Buddhist practices, mindfulness was transformed into
a secularized intervention, delivered in groups, and aimed at reducing stress
and promoting wellbeing (Kabat-Zinn, 2003; Segal, Williams, & Teasdale,
2013). The research, clinical success, and prevalence of the model led to an
expanded interest in mindfulness-based perspectives and inspired subsequent
generations of therapeutic and non-therapeutic models.
A sequel to this unfolding evolution has been the rise of mindfulness-
based programs within educational settings, which began at the end of the
1990s (Ergas & Hadar, 2019; Meiklejohn et al., 2012; Semple, Droutman, &
Reid, 2017). Within this domain, initiatives and prototypes were developed,
applied, and researched in diverse educational contexts in North America,
Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and Africa (Ergas &
Hadar, 2019).
Altogether, the collective empirical and published data demonstrate that
mindfulness in education can be framed and implemented in a variety
of ways, applied towards various aims, deliver a multitude of potential
outcomes, and support the betterment of both students and teachers (Ergas &
Hadar, 2019; Felver & Jennings, 2016). Embedded in these many approaches
are assumptions about the goals of education, the role of mindfulness-based
pedagogies in it, how mindfulness should be taught, who should deliver it,
and how to evaluate outcomes.
Mindfulness in education is in congruence with many principles and
visions of positive psychology. This chapter presents an overview of mindful-
ness in education around the world and summarizes the knowledge accumu-
lated from various perspectives and practices worldwide. The chapter centres
mostly on the learners’ domain (school-age children, 6–18 years old), with
reference to the role of educators. It describes the evolution of mindfulness
in education and its role within a holistic and integrative future education
paradigm. Relevant and conceivable relationship with positive education is
Mindfulness and Its Origins
The word mindfulness is an English translation of the word sati,which
occurs in Buddhist teachings and texts in a range of meanings, such as
recollection, recognition, wakefulness, attentiveness, calling to mind, and
alertness (Bodhi, 2011;Ditrich,2017). In the context of contemplative
practices, it refers to a quality of conscious awareness, and the repeated appli-
cation of this awareness to each experience of life (Bodhi, 2011;Ditrich,
24 Mindfulness in Education: Insights Towards an Integrative Paradigm 611
2017). Furthermore, the term relates to the cultivation of wholesome, skilful,
wise attention to four domains of existence: body, feelings, cognition, and
mental constituents. According to the traditional Buddhist teachings, mind-
fulness strengthens tranquillity and mental balance and enhances wisdom,
insight, loving-kindness, and compassion. Further, the meditation practices
are assumed to bring about a reduction of greed, aversion, and ignorance,
considered by Buddhist psychology to be at the root of human suffering
(Ditrich, 2017).
Many of these perspectives were introduced to the West since the 1960s
and 1970s, through Westerners travelling to Asia to study Buddhist practices,
and Buddhist teachers from the East visiting the West. Buddhist centres that
were subsequently founded, especially in the U.S. and England, integrated
various Eastern traditions and offered programs and trainings to the general
public (Young, 2016).
The aims of these methods, as conceptualized then, were described as the
cultivation of profound insight into mental processes, identity, and reality,
and the development of an optimal state of psychological wellbeing and
consciousness (Walsh, 1983). Meditations were seen as a family of practices
that train attention, heighten awareness, and bring mental processes under
greater voluntary control. The discourse of the time identified the methods as
potentially beneficial for a variety of “intermediate aims”, such as psychophys-
iological and psychotherapeutic (Walsh, 1983). Thus, the foundation for the
secularization of the original spiritual practices was prepared.
A significant step in the secularization of mindfulness appeared with the
introduction of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program in
late 1970. The model, developed by Kabat-Zinn, was incorporated into the
University of Massachusetts’ (U.S.) stress reduction clinic and was targeted to
assist patients in coping with their stress, pain, and illness. The MBSR format
transforms the Buddhist methods into an eight-week group session protocol
(initially nine), integrating guided mindfulness-based practices, psychoeduca-
tion, group discussions, and regular home practice. The experiential sessions
include various sitting and lying practices, such as breath awareness and body
scan, as well as mindful yoga exercises, mindful walking, and mindful eating
experiences (Kabat-Zinn, 1990). The model modified the ancient principles
and practices, reframing and presenting them as a therapeutic protocol.
The secularization of mindfulness, and its introduction into the medical
and psychotherapeutic domains, has inevitably been reflected in new concep-
tualizations. Secular mindfulness is most commonly defined as the awareness
that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment,
and non-judgementally, to the unfolding of experience moment by moment
612 N. Sheinman and P. Russo-Netzer
(Kabat-Zinn, 2003), or as a non-elaborative, non-judgemental, present-
centred awareness, in which each thought, feeling, or sensation that arises
in the attentional field is acknowledged and accepted as it is (Bishop et al.,
The MBSR model led to the emergence of other clinical models, most
notably the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), which incorpo-
rates cognitive strategies into the MBSR protocol. The MBCT approach uses
an 8-week, group-based structure and is advocated mostly for patients with a
history of depression (Segal et al., 2013). In addition to MBSR and MBCT,
mindfulness-based techniques have also been integrated into several one-on-
one psychotherapeutic systems, such as Dialectic Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) (Shonin, Van Gordon, &
Griffiths, 2013).
Concurrent adaptations of mindfulness-based approaches across the world
led to numerous mindfulness-based modifications, including applications for
emotional balance (Cullen & Pons, 2015), medical conditions (e.g., Carlson,
2012; Greeson & Chin, 2019), psychotherapy (Germer et al., 2016; Pollak,
Pedulla, & Siegel, 2014; Rappaport, 2008), trauma therapy (Schwartz, 2013;
Weiss, Johanson, & Monda, 2015), leadership (Arendt, Verdorfer, & Kugler,
2019), workplace (Bartlett et al., 2019;King,2019), and politics (Bristow,
2019). Moreover, mindfulness became an investigated topic in neuroscience
(Tang, Hölzel, & Posner, 2015), immunity research (Black & Slavich, 2016),
epigenetics (Kaliman, 2019; Kaliman et al., 2014), and self-compassion
(Ferrari et al., 2019; Germer & Neff, 2013) studies. Accordingly, the number
of peer-reviewed papers per year grew exponentially, from zero publications
in 1980 to almost 850 publications in 2018 (Black, 2018).
The main arena in which mindfulness-based principles are rapidly growing
is the education field, where mindfulness has been integrated to foster chil-
drens (and teachers’) mental, emotional, and behavioural health, and to
promote essential life skills. School-based mindfulness provides a collec-
tive community activity with a particular experiential and acceptance-based
approach. As such, it may help young people to know themselves better,
realize their true capacities, cultivate positive behavioural/internal processes,
and build resiliency. Furthermore, it has the potential to promote their sense
of safety, psychological wellbeing, social competence, mental health, and
academic success (Rawana, Diplock, & Chan, 2018).
The process of education, from this context, can equip learners with
agency and a sense of purpose and build competencies that learners would
need for contributing to their own lives and the lives of others (OECD,
2018). Schools, in this regard, are recognized as unique long-term settings
24 Mindfulness in Education: Insights Towards an Integrative Paradigm 613
for fostering students’ wellbeing and resilience, and helping them develop as
whole people (OECD, 2018; World Health Organization, 1999).
Mindfulness in Schools
Parallel to the progression of mindfulness-based models for adults, which
began in the late 1970s, a surge of initiatives has emerged since the end of the
1990s relating to the potential benefits of mindfulness in educational settings.
Some of these programs mirror the clinical MBSR and MBCT models,
albeit with adaptations for children and youth (Felver, Doerner, Jones, Kaye,
& Merrell, 2013; Semple & Burke, 2019). However, most of the school-
based programs use a non-clinical orientation, designed to enhance children’s
wellbeing, social-emotional development, coping strategies, and resilience.
The emerging field, most commonly named mindfulness in education, is
accompanied by publications, books, and research initiatives. It encompasses
implementations and curricula for school-based students, as well as modules
for teachers and educators. The number of related peer-reviewed publications
per year rose from 2 in 2002 to 101 in 2017, covering conceptual papers,
field-based research, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses assessments (Ergas
& Hadar, 2019).
In the education field, as in clinical practice, mindfulness can fulfil
different roles. The functions in clinical practice can be conceptualized along
a continuum, from implicit to explicit (Germer, 2005). At the more implicit
end of the continuum are the potential benefits for the practitioner, such
as enhancing one’s humanity, sensitivity, kindness, and presence. Next, in
the continuum, is the execution of mindfulness-informed therapy, where
numerous mindfulness-based perspectives, dialogues, inquiries, and practices
inspire the therapeutic sessions. And at the explicit end of the continuum,
specific principles and practices are tailored to the patient, with personalized
guidance in how to apply them in life situations (Germer, 2005).
Similarly, the incorporation of mindfulness into education may diversify
into several specific formats and functions:
1. The teacher’s aspect. This domain involves mindfulness-based train-
ings for educators, to assist them in self-care and self-leadership.
Programs in this domain come to support teachers in cultivating self-
awareness, emotional regulation, unconditional presence, self-compassion,
and resilience.
614 N. Sheinman and P. Russo-Netzer
2. The classrooms domain. Programs in this domain instruct teachers
to integrate mindfulness-based principles into a class or curriculum
and to introduce mindfulness-based practices to children. The nature
and structure of each of these programs determine its distinct benefits
and outcomes, such as enhancing socio-emotional functioning, strength-
ening resilience, improving academic success, or developing gratitude and
3. A whole-school approach. Unlike a classroom-based approach, a whole-
school approach to mindfulness involves full integration of mindfulness
in the school curriculum, culture, and climate, an engagement of the
teachers, and some incorporation of parents (Kielty, Gilligan, & Staton,
2017; Sheinman & Hadar, 2017). The best framework for such an
approach is the Health Promoting Schools initiative of the World Health
Organization (WHO), a defined, applied, and studied framework (Lang-
ford et al., 2014; Stewart-Brown, 2006). This multifaceted, long-term
approach to mindfulness seems to offer a more transformative and sustain-
able model, though a more challenging one.
4. Mindfulness as education. Mindfulness as education, or education
through mindfulness, shifts mindfulness from an add-on practice that
may support various aims to a pedagogical method and education per
se. Mindfulness as education implies a model in which mindfulness-
based pedagogies, principles, and practices are at the core of the teaching
and learning process, usually with an emphasis on introspection, self-
reflection, experiential knowing, and transformative learning (Ergas &
Hadar, 2019).
Mindfulness and Education’s Future Paradigm
The expansion of mindfulness in education corresponds to global discussions
concerning the goals of education and the role of schools. The last decade has
seen a growing consensus among educators, researchers, education scholars,
policymakers, and the public-at-large about the urgent need for a more
comprehensive vision of education. From this perspective, education should
be a resource for responding to the global challenges we face, and for creating
and applying wise alternatives. As a recent UNESCO’s Futures of Educations
document states, knowledge and learning are humanity’s most significant
renewable resources for responding to challenges and for inventing alterna-
tives. Moreover, the document highlights that education should not only
24 Mindfulness in Education: Insights Towards an Integrative Paradigm 615
respond to a changing world but transform lives and the world (UNESCO,
Preparing children for life, according to these principles, requires an
approach that does not focus only on the mastery of academic skills, and
supports them in becoming responsible adults (Maynard, Solis, & Miller,
2015). Respectively, schools are not only places for learning, but settings
which promote positive development. Schools can play an essential role in
protecting and promoting health, cultivating wellbeing and competencies,
and supporting childrens ability to cope with life’s adversities and challenges
(European Network for Mental Health Promotion, 2009).
UNESCO advocated these educational principles in three reports. The
1972 report, Learning to Be: The World of Education Today and Tomorrow,
warned of the risks of inequalities and suffering, and emphasized the need
for continued expansion of education and lifelong learning (UNESCO,
1972). The 1996 report, The Treasure Within, proposed an integrated model
of education based on a four pillars principle: learning to be, learning to
know, learning to do, and learning to live together in a lifelong perspective
(UNESCO, 1996). More recently, the Rethinking Education: Towards a Global
Common Good document reframed the purpose of education, stating that
“sustaining and enhancing the dignity, capacity, and welfare of the human
person, in relation to others and nature, should be the fundamental purpose
of education in the twenty-first century” (UNESCO, 2015, p. 36).
The OECD’s (2018) parallel project, Future of Education and Skills 2030,
Education has a vital role to play in developing the knowledge, skills, attitudes,
and values that enable people to contribute to and benefit from an inclusive
and sustainable future. Education [should] equip learners with agency and a
sense of purpose, and the competencies they need, to shape their own lives and
contribute to the lives of others. (p. 5)
The role of education, as defined in this position paper, is to help every learner
develop as a whole person, fulfil his or her potential, and help shape a shared
future built on the wellbeing of individuals, communities, and the planet
(OECD, 2018).
Accordingly, future schools and curriculums should develop life skills
(World Health Organization, 1999) and cultivate competencies like self-
awareness, self-regulation, resilience, perspective taking, empathy, gratitude,
mindfulness, and leadership (OECD, 2018; Schleicher, 2018). There are
challenges in accomplishing these goals, asserts Andreas Schleicher (2018),
the director of the OECD education task force, because the development
616 N. Sheinman and P. Russo-Netzer
of these cognitive, social, and emotional capabilities requires a very different
approach to learning and teaching and a different calibre of teachers.
Furthermore, ample evidence-based data shows that children learn best
when treated as human beings with social and emotional needs (National
Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, 2019). A
growing body of research indicates that academic achievement, social and
emotional competence, and physical and mental health are fundamentally
and multiply inter-related. The best and most efficient way to foster any of
those is to foster all of them (Diamond, 2010).
Social and emotional learning (SEL), in this regard, is the process through
which we learn to recognize and manage emotions, care about others, make
good decisions, behave ethically and responsibly, develop positive relation-
ships, and reduce negative behaviours (Zins, Bloodworth, Weissberg, &
Walberg, 2007). The need for such a school-based approach is specifically
significant for at-risk populations, such as those exposed to adversity, poverty,
violence, and divorce (Jennings, Lantieri, & Roeser, 2012).
Recent recommendations from the U.S. National Commission on Social,
Emotional, and Academic Development (2019) boldly states:
It is a mistake to view social and emotional learning as a “soft” approach to
education. An emphasis on these capacities is not the sacrifice of rigor; it is a
source of rigor. Educating the whole learner cannot be reduced to a simple set
of policies or proposals. It is, instead, a mindset that should inform the entire
educational enterprise. (p. 7)
More than two decades of research across a wide range of disciplines—
psychology, social science, and brain science—demonstrates that learning
depends on deep connections across a variety of skills, attitudes, and traits.
These generally fall into three broad categories: (1) competencies and skills,
(2) attitudes, beliefs, and mindsets, and (3) character and values (Aspen
Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Devel-
opment, 2019).
Mindfulness in education is strongly linked to many of the above themes
and objectives. Mindfulness-based principles, practices, and pedagogies may
provide unique modus operandi for building up children’s dispositions,
competencies, and healthy development.
24 Mindfulness in Education: Insights Towards an Integrative Paradigm 617
Mindfulness-Based Principles with Children
and Youth
There are significant differences between the various school-based mind-
fulness initiatives (with children and adolescents) and the clinical models
designed for adults. The most notable distinctions are the age (children and
youth vs. adults) and the context (schools vs. clinics). Accordingly, school-
based mindfulness must address developmental issues, children’s inner needs,
attention capacities, and cognitive and metacognitive abilities, as well as
motivation theories, school/classroom contexts, and other factors. There is
a general agreement that adaptations of mindfulness for children call for
shorter sessions, inclusions of movement and imagery, optional playfulness,
stories, songs, and games, and the use of group inquiries and personal diaries
(Semple & Lee, 2014). Unlike the structured mindfulness-based models for
adults, many education-based versions leave more space for improvisations
and creative innovations (see Table 24.1).
Other parameters, relevant in working with children and youth include:
Whole-child perspectives. A whole-child approach to education focuses
attention on the emotional, social, mental, physical, and cognitive develop-
ment of students. At its core, the approach views the purpose of schooling
as developing future citizens and providing the basis for children to fulfil
their potential (Diamond, 2010; Slade & Griffith, 2013).
Children’s basic needs. Mindfulness-based programs should resonate with
themes of child development and with students’ developmental needs.
Olness and Kohen (1996) postulate that working with children requires
awareness of each child’s urge for mastery, positive experiences, social inter-
action, wellness, and the inner world of imagination (Olness & Kohen,
1996). Self-motivation theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000) postulates three
innate psychological needs—competence, autonomy, and relatedness—
which, when satisfied, yield enhanced self-motivation, mental health, and
Age adaptation. When applying mindfulness with children and youth, it
is essential to execute age-appropriate principles. Each programs compo-
nent, be it a guided experience, explanation, inquiry, or psychoeducation,
needs to modify and adapt according to the relevant age. In essence, various
programs tend to use 2–3 age adapted versions.
Embodied teaching. The quality of any mindfulness in education program
depends on the delivery agent—the teacher/facilitator. A core component
of any program is, therefore, not only the instructor’s understanding of
618 N. Sheinman and P. Russo-Netzer
Table 24.1 Mindfulness for adults vs. mindfulness with children and youth
interventions with adults
Mindfulness in
education with
children and youth
Target population Adult patients Children and youth
Context Hospitals, clinics, and
therapeutic institutes
Schools, classrooms,
and youth programs
Main models MBSR, MBCT, MSC Various models and
Special adaptations Adaptations according to
medical or psychological
Adaptations according
to age, culture,
education contexts,
and special needs
Moderated by Qualified facilitators Professional facilitators
or trained school
Program’s Duration 8-week Ranging from a few
sessions to an
ongoing long-term
Length of each session 2.5 hours, once a week From a few minutes
(daily) to 45 minutes
(a week), or both
Length of practices 15–45 minutes 3–15 minutes
Home practice Expected and required Suggested, not
Integrations with other
Integrations with cognitive
modalities or mindful
Integrations with yoga,
expressive art, council
circles, music, positive
learning, imagery,
themes, and more
Expected outcomes Symptom reduction.
Psychological or
clinical-based outcomes
Cultivation of
competencies and
enhancement of
wellbeing. Variety of
emotional, mental,
behavioural, and
cognitive outcomes,
with potential
applications and
contribution in school
contexts and
out-of-school life
24 Mindfulness in Education: Insights Towards an Integrative Paradigm 619
mindfulness but his or her ability to role model the principles, embody a
non-reactive mindset, and demonstrate a “being-mode” and a “beginner’s
mind” attitudes (Broderick et al., 2019).
Repetitiveness. We can enhance children’s disposition to learn and apply
the practices by repetitiveness, built into the design of the sessions, classes,
or curriculums (Semple & Lee, 2014).
Variety . Variety increases childrens interest and balances the repetitiveness.
We can create it by using different versions for a specific practice (e.g.,
using different versions of a breath awareness practice), by inserting several
short exercises within a more extended classroom session, by creating
gradual challenges (e.g., from two-minute mindful silence to five-minute),
or by leaving an expressive-creative time after a meditative practice time
(Semple & Lee, 2014).
Inquiry and expression. Creating a safe space for discussing and sharing
(in small groups or a whole-class circle) can be introduced to sessions to
enhance childrens reflection, cognition, sense of connectedness, listening
skills, and insight potential (Semple & Lee, 2014). Written or creative
(non-verbal) expression, as in a mindful journal, are other helpful aids in
the learning process.
The intensity or dose–response. A few minutes of a mindful practice,
sporadically introduced, will leave a smaller imprint compared to a 45-
minute class, delivered once a week for a whole year. Factors influencing
the “dose–response” are the frequency of the sessions (e.g., once, twice,
or five times a week), the number of classes in a given program (or per
year), the length of each class (e.g., 15 minute or 45 minute), the dura-
tion of each experiential session (a few minute script or a longer one),
the balance between explanation, experience, expression, and inquiry, and
the repetitiveness of each experience (e.g., Greenberg & Harris, 2012;
Schonert-Reichl & Roeser, 2016).
The above themes and parameters overlap with the positive-activity model,
defined and discussed in positive psychology (Lyubomirsky & Layous, 2013).
The model addresses activity-based features and person-based features that
influence an improvement in wellbeing. According to the model, various
elements of the activity (e.g., dosage, variety) and characteristics of the person
(e.g., needs, motivation, effort) influence the expected improvement in well-
being. Thus, an optimal person-activity fit (i.e., the overlap between activity
and personal features) predicts an increase in wellbeing (Lyubomirsky &
Layous, 2013).
620 N. Sheinman and P. Russo-Netzer
Mindfulness in Education Around the World
The worldwide implementation of mindfulness-based programs in schools is
escalating, and the number of publications on the topic is rapidly swelling
(Schonert-Reichl & Roeser, 2016). As seen in the literature and publica-
tions around the world, mindfulness in education can take many forms,
framing styles, components, and integrations (Ergas & Hadar, 2019; Semple
et al., 2017; Zenner et al., 2014). The following section presents a sample of
mindfulness in education programs from around the world (summarized in
Tabl e 24.2).
Two Australian-made models can be found in various schools around the
country: Meditation Capsules and Smiling Mind. Some mixed versions of
Mindfulness in Schools Project (U.K.), MindUp (U.S.), and Mindful Schools
(U.S.) are also present. Most initiatives are executed at the classroom level
and are led by schoolteachers who are inspired to incorporate mindfulness
within education training.
The Meditation Capsules model (Etty-Leal, 2010) integrates a range of
meditation-based themes and techniques, designed to enhance wellbeing,
compassion, and general academic performance (Ager, Albrecht, & Cohen,
2015). Topics include mindfulness and self-awareness, understanding stress,
body and breath awareness, observation of thoughts, mindfulness and the
senses, communication dynamics, humour, creativity, and stillness. The
model is integrated into a whole-school approach of positive education, as
applied by the Geelong Grammar School, Australian institute of positive
education (Norrish, 2015).
Smiling Mind is a web and app-based program, developed by psychologists
and educators. It was launched in 2012 to support the wellbeing of students
and teachers, and to help them with the pressure, stress, and challenges
of daily life (Smiling Mind, 2017). The model is organized in four age-
appropriate versions (ages 7–9, 10–12, 13–15, 16–18), and offers a variety
of lesson plans, activities, and guided sessions, adjusted for children, youth,
and adults (Bailey et al., 2018; Smiling Mind, 2017).
24 Mindfulness in Education: Insights Towards an Integrative Paradigm 621
Table 24.2 Mindfulness in schools initiatives around the world
Country Program Year Unique themes Implementation Facilitated by
Australia Meditation
2000 Integration of
expressive arts
and group
Depended on
Australia Smiling
2012 A web-based and
Depended on
Bhutan GNH in
2010 Whole country
part of the
national Gross
Happiness (GNH)
Depended on
trained by
Israel Sfat
1998 Whole-School-
based model;
integration with
each grade’s
annual curriculum
Weekly classes
for a whole
year, year by
part of the
PBS 2012 Aligned with
perspectives and
Eight weekly
lessons, and
then ongoing
UK .b 2009 Under a major
research project
Ten weekly
USA MindUp 2005 Neuroscience and
15 structured
USA L2B 2002 Adaptation of
6, 12, or 18
Tra ine d
or trained
USA Mindful
2007 Integrative training
for teachers
25–30 sessions,
each, 2–3
times a week
experts and
Mindfulness in education in Bhutan is part of the nationwide implementa-
tion of Gross National Happiness (GNH), the country’s developmental philos-
ophy. According to GNH principles, all government policies match four
622 N. Sheinman and P. Russo-Netzer
pillars: sustainable socio-economic development, preservation and promotion
of culture, conservation of the environment, and good governance (Hayward,
Pannozzo, & Colman, 2009;Hayward&Colman,2010).
The country’s Educating for Gross National Happiness initiative started in
2010 (Drupka & Brien, 2013). Training and a workbook manual were intro-
duced to all Bhutans school principals, urging them to train their teachers. All
schools were requested to infuse values and principles of gross national happi-
ness into their curricular programs and extra-curricular activities (Sherab
et al., 2014).
The GNH in Education model adopted mindfulness as an essential
element in developing students as GNH graduates (Bhutan’s Ministry of
Education, 2013). The model’s manual incorporates a module on meditation
and mind training and offers verbatims for seven guided mindfulness-based
practices of a few minutes each. Teachers are instructed to introduce these
practices in whole-school assemblies, before class, before or after sports
competitions, or at the beginning or end of the day. Although Bhutan
is a Buddhist country, the guided scripts emphasize secular mindfulness,
designed to enhance stress relief, support positive emotions, and cultivate
contemplative and reflective learning (Bhutan’s Ministry of Education, 2013).
Israel’s first mindfulness in education initiative (Sfat Hakeshev,TheMindful
Language) started in 1998 as a whole-school project (primary school, age 6–
12 years), echoing the Health Promoting School (HPS) principles of the WHO
(n.d.; see also Sheinman & Hadar, 2017). The main goals were to enhance
childrens self-awareness, improve self-efficacy and resilience, develop social-
emotional skills, prevent risk behaviours, and improve learning potential.
The model introduces mindfulness-based sessions as an integral part of
each class’s curriculum (primary school, age 6–12), presented once a week
for a whole year, year after year. Each session (45 minutes) integrates
mindfulness-based practices, yoga-based movements and postures, specific
imagery-based processes, inquiry time, and a personal journal. Sessions are
taught by experienced mindfulness instructors and take place in a “mind-
fulness room”, empty of chairs and desks. The “dose” is enhanced by the
homeroom teachers, who weave short mindfulness-based sessions into their
Unlike most mindfulness in education programs around the world, the
Sfat Hakeshev model offers an ongoing six years process (from age 6–12), with
integrations of mindfulness into a school’s curriculum, culture, and climate.
24 Mindfulness in Education: Insights Towards an Integrative Paradigm 623
The extended duration of the program allows the gradual learning of compe-
tencies, insights, and coping strategies (Semple et al., 2017). Although only
a few schools maintain the program, the long-term sustainability creates a
unique contribution to childrens coping strategies and their responses to
everyday challenges (Sheinman, Hadar, Gafni, & Milman, 2018).
At least two additional models are currently being applied and researched:
The Call to Care program (Tarrasch, Berger, & Grossman, 2020), and
the Purple School initiative (a three years project applying a whole-school
approach; Ergas & Avisar, in press). Further, many colleges of education in
the country offer mindfulness-based classes as an elective or required course.
New Zealand
The leading mindfulness in schools’ program in New Zealand is the Pause,
Breath, Smile (PBS) initiative, launched in 2012. Work to date includes
the development, application, dissemination, research, and refinement of the
model. The program is sensitive to curriculum guidelines of New Zealand’s
Ministry of Education, as well as to specific principles related to New
Zealand’s indigenous Maori population (Bernay, Graham, Devcich, Rix, &
Rubie-Davies, 2016).
The program consists of a structured eight one-hour weekly classes, taught
by trained schoolteachers. After the eight weeks, teachers are encouraged
and supported to continue weaving the practices in their classes throughout
the school year. The practices include mindfulness of breathing, mindful
movements, body scan, mindful listening, mindful eating, a loving-kindness
practice called “kind heart, happy heart”, and a mindful breathing practice
focused on fostering a sense of connection to the natural world (Bernay et al.,
The programs’ indigenous principles correspond with Te Whare Tapa
Wha, “The House with Four Walls”, a holistic wellbeing Maori concept.
Children are invited to reflect on four domains or “cornerstones” of health—
physical wellbeing (taha tinana), mental and emotional wellbeing (taha
hinengaro), family and social wellbeing (taha whanau), and spiritual well-
being (taha wairua)—and to apply principles of mindfulness within each of
these domains (Devcich, Rix, Bernay, & Graham, 2017).
624 N. Sheinman and P. Russo-Netzer
The most established mindfulness in education initiative in the U.K. is the
Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), launched in 2009 as a national not-for-
profit charity for young people and schools. The initiative’s model includes
the “.b” program (“dot-b”, standing for “stop and be”), designed for 11–18-
year-olds, and the “Paws b ” program, developed in 2013 for 7–11-year old.
The implementation is based on a syllabus of ten weekly 45-minute struc-
tured sessions (12 short lessons in Paws b ), geared to fit into the school
curriculum, and taught by classroom teachers trained to deliver the program.
Each session focuses on a distinct theme and skill and integrates didactic
presentation, film clips and animations, guided practice, and interactive
exploration and inquiry. The curriculum synthesizes MBSR and MBCT
principles with appropriate age adaptations (Kuyken et al., 2013). Themes
include paying attention, taming the mind, working with worry, being in
the now, befriending the difficult, and taking in the good. Short experien-
tial practices introduce mindfulness of breath and body, the passing nature of
thoughts, mindful eating and walking, and ways for dealing with stress. (See
The program is currently part of an extensive multi-year randomized
controlled trial project, called My Resilience in Adolescence (MYRIAD),
conducted in over 80 schools. The project aims to assess whether mindful-
ness training in schools can shift young adults away from psychopathology
and towards improved mental health, resilience, and wellbeing (Kuyken et al.,
Mindfulness in education in the U.S. is diverse and abounds with initiatives,
programs, and research projects. For this chapter, we chose three initia-
tives: the MindUp curriculum for elementary school children, the Learning
to BREATHE curriculum for adolescents, and the Mindful Schools teachers
training model.
MindUP.TheMindUp program is a classroom-based curriculum for
elementary school children, created in 2005 by the Hawn Foundation.
The program includes 15 lessons of thirty minutes each, with three age-
appropriate curriculums. The teaching units are informed by research find-
ings from cognitive neuroscience, social and emotional learning, positive
psychology, and mindfulness training. The program aims to foster childrens
24 Mindfulness in Education: Insights Towards an Integrative Paradigm 625
social-emotional wellbeing, prosocial behaviour, and academic success (Hawn
Foundation, 2011).
The teaching units include information on the brain structure and func-
tion, to help students develop an understanding of the brains role in
emotions, behaviour, decision-making, and learning.Topics encompass atten-
tion to the senses (i.e., mindful listening, seeing, smelling, tasting), and
mindful movement. Other units focus on attitude, perspective taking, opti-
mism, gratitude, kindness, and taking action (Maloney, Lawlor, Schonert-
Reichl, & Whitehead, 2016). A few minutes of a mindful breath awareness
is integral to the lesson plans, to help students focus, settle, and calm down.
Teachers are encouraged to present the lessons at regular intervals throughout
the typical 32-week school year and to integrate the short breath awareness
practice within their ongoing teaching (Hawn Foundation, 2011).
Learning to BREATHE.Learning to BREATHE (L2B) is a mindful-
ness-based curriculum for adolescents, created for classroom settings. The
curriculum intends to strengthen attention and emotion regulation, cultivate
wholesome emotions like gratitude and compassion, expand the repertoire
of stress management skills, and help participants integrate mindfulness into
daily life (Broderick & Frank, 2014).
The model consists of six lessons of 45-minute each, with six core themes:
(1) body awareness; (2) understanding and working with thoughts; (3) under-
standing and working with feelings; (4) integrating awareness of thoughts,
feelings, and bodily sensations; (5) reducing harmful self-judgements; and
(6) integrating mindful awareness into daily life (Metz et al., 2013). Each
lesson includes a short introduction of the topic, several activities for group
participation, discussion to engage students in the lesson, and an opportunity
for in-class mindfulness meditation practice (Broderick, 2013).
The Mindful School initiative. A prevalent mindfulness in education
model in the U.S. is the Mindful Schools initiative, established in 2007. A
central aim of the model is to build attention, self-regulation, and empathy
(Mindful Schools, 2015). Initially, the model relied on facilitation executed
by the programs trained mindfulness practitioners, but now concentrates on
training educators in developing their mindfulness practice, and in adapting
mindfulness to their students (Semple et al., 2017).
The training offers two age-adapted curricula: a 30-module version for age
5–12, and a 25-module version for age 12–17. The lessons are structured as a
15-minute increment, delivered two to three times per week. Topics include
mindful breath and body exercises, mindfulness in different sensory modes
(e.g., listening or eating), mindfulness of thoughts and emotions, and activ-
ities to promote gratitude, generosity, and compassion. Discussions about
626 N. Sheinman and P. Russo-Netzer
ways that students might incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives are
part of each lesson. Student workbooks are available to support optional
5-minute journaling at the end of each lesson.
Mapping the Themes
The programs described above, as well as publications, books, reviews, and
meta-analyses, reveal a highly heterogeneous composition of methods, imple-
mentation principles, age populations, and foci. The diversity of programs,
the pilot-character of many studies, and challenges in finding adequate scales
(reliable assessment tools) make an accurate impression of effectiveness chal-
lenging to get. Variations in programs’ structure, duration, chosen practices,
and expected results challenge the ability to make conclusions regarding best
practices or evidence-based outcomes (McKeering & Hwang, 2019).
A recent thorough mapping of the field assessed 447 peer-reviewed papers
published between 2002 and 2017 and identified common recurrent themes
(Ergas & Hadar, 2019). The assessment found six different perspectives
from which academic papers cover the field: explaining the field, justifying
the field, demonstrating implementation principles, studying mindfulness-
based effects, analyses and reviews, and critical analysis of the field. In
the context of the framing of mindfulness-based programs in schools, the
following categories were isolated: (1) wellbeing and mind–body health, (2)
social-emotional learning, (3) self-knowing and transformative learning, (4)
academic performance and cognitive functions, (5) behaviour and conduct,
and (6) spirituality. There were a few other domains relating to teaching,
learning, critical pedagogy, and higher education.
Many experts in the field agree on the need for more high-quality quantita-
tive and qualitative research, needed to shed light on better ways of assessing
outcomes with children, and means for evaluating fidelity of programs’
implementation. As already observed in the field of social and emotional
learning, reliable means of assessing fidelity of program implementation can
strengthen research, support instructor training, and contribute to program
improvement (Broderick et al., 2019).
At present, there are no standardized instruments for assessing the imple-
mentation quality of mindfulness in education programs. Broderick et al.
(2019) pointed out that such measures require attention to two major
domains: the adherence to an existing given program (e.g., explanations and
practices), and the quality or process of the implementation itself (e.g., how
it was explained, guided, and taught). The cultivation of mindfulness in
24 Mindfulness in Education: Insights Towards an Integrative Paradigm 627
schools, akin to teaching adults, requires adherence to the program model,
as well as an embodiment of the attitudinal foundations of mindfulness
(Kabat-Zinn, 1990).
The broad range of versions and the lack of a standardized protocol
may represent the strength of the mindfulness in education field, not a
shortfall. As expressed by Burnett, founder of the U.K. MiSP program,
the multiplicity of options can demonstrate the field’s sense of possibilities,
presenting a spectrum of potential applications of these perspectives and prac-
tices, when applied in educational contexts (Burnett, 2011). Mindfulness in
education practices can exist within a range of possibilities, from functional
ones (enhancing calmness, reducing stress, improving sleep) to the thera-
peutic (alleviating restlessness, anger, anxiety), to wellbeing (increasing self-
awareness, resilience, wellbeing), through to the more spiritual (introducing
mystery, wonder, meaning).
The Benefits for Children and Youth
Despite the heterogeneous nature of the mindfulness in education field, the
positive findings across many studies, examining different models, in different
countries, and with diverse age groups, appear promising. The evidence
suggests that well-conducted programs appear to be welcomed by students
and teachers, have positive impacts on the psychological, mental, and social
health of the young, improve the wellbeing of children and adolescents, and
reduce the overall burden of health spending by focusing on preventive inter-
ventions (Semple & Burke, 2019;Weare,2019). Beyond that, the teachers’
involvement with mindfulness can increase their sense of wellbeing and self-
efficacy, contributing to a prosocial classroom and positive student outcomes
(Jennings et al., 2012).
As evident through numerous studies, publications, and meta-analysis,
school-based mindfulness programs may have positive effects on a variety of
measures and outcomes, across multiple age levels:
Reduces stress and depressive symptoms (Felver et al., 2016; Kuyken et al.,
2013; Zenner et al., 2014).
Promotes positive mental health (Schonert-Reichl & Roeser, 2016).
Improves psychological wellbeing (Huppert & Johnson, 2010; Kuyken
et al., 2013).
Supports psychosocial wellbeing (Felver et al., 2016).
Supports social-emotional learning (Schonert-Reichl et al., 2015).
628 N. Sheinman and P. Russo-Netzer
Boost mindfulness-based coping strategies (Sheinman et al., 2018).
Enhance resilience (Felver et al., 2019).
Increases positive affect measures, such as a person’s sense of happiness and
optimism (Sampaio de Carvalho et al., 2017).
Improves executive functioning (Janz, Dawe, & Wyllie, 2019).
Impacts aspects of cognition (Dunning et al., 2019; Klingbeil et al., 2017;
Maynard et al., 2015).
Although the accumulated findings on the benefits of school-based mind-
fulness are significant, none of the studies conducted between-programs
comparisons, such as comparing PBS to MiSP, or compared outcomes of
a long-term plan to a short-term one. There are also no comparative data
on the perspective of students, regarding their experiences, insights, or skills
Some distinct programs may serve as an effective strategy for specific
targeted outcomes, such as aggressive and problematic behaviours (Felver
et al., 2013; Singh et al., 2007), executive functioning skills (Parker et al.,
2014), and reduction in depressive symptoms (Bluth et al., 2016). Further,
empirical research has demonstrated that school-based mindfulness is gener-
ally a safe and effective intervention modality that supports psychosocial
wellbeing (Felver et al., 2016).
Mindfulness-based programs are more effective when taught by teachers
who understand the principles from within. Each teaching thus becomes an
opportunity to embody and generate the particular qualities that mindful-
ness develops, such as attentiveness, kindness, open-mindedness, curiosity,
empathy, compassion, acceptance, and patience. In fact, for teachers, these
skills and attitudes are essential for any interaction with young people.
As the field of mindfulness in education evolved, the role of teachers
and their influence on outcomes became more explicit. Accordingly, specific
mindfulness-based trainings for educators were devised and examined.
Mindfulness for Teachers
Teachers play an essential role in providing the learning opportunities that
influence and shape the character and wellbeing of children and youth (NSW
Government, 2015). Considered as the most important in-school factor,
teachers contribute to students’ learning, personal development, and flour-
ishing (Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain, 2005). Teaching, however, is a complex
and demanding practice, usually loaded with stress, emotional challenges, job
24 Mindfulness in Education: Insights Towards an Integrative Paradigm 629
dissatisfaction, and burnout, potentially resulting in teachers’ poor mental
health and reduced wellbeing outcomes (Beltman & Poulton, 2019;Lomas,
Medina, Ivtzan, Rupprecht, & Eiroa-Orosa, 2017; Zarate, Maggin, & Pass-
more, 2019).
Concurrent with the school-based initiatives around the world, and the
growing preference for facilitation by school’s teachers (versus led by trained
mindfulness practitioners), various mindfulness-based programs for teachers
are evolved and researched (e.g., Beshai, McAlpine, Weare, & Kuyken, 2016;
Crain, Schonert-Reichl, & Roeser, 2017; Harris, Jennings, Katz, Abenavoli,
& Greenberg, 2016; Jennings et al., 2019; Schussler et al., 2018). Accord-
ingly, there is a marked increase in peer-review publications related to
mindfulness-based programs for teachers (Ergas & Hadar, 2019).
Generally speaking, two categories of mindfulness-based programs for
teachers are prevalent. In the first are programs designated to support
teachers’ emotional regulation, self-compassion, and wellbeing, in their role as
teachers. The second relates to programs designed to train teachers in teaching
specific mindfulness in education initiatives. In some programs, the training
integrates the two into one long-term gradual learning process, i.e., Presence,
Awareness, and Self -Compassion in Schools (PAS) in Austria1or the Purple
School Project in Israel.2
Both categories acknowledge teachers’ stress, emotional challenges and
burnout, and seek to improve their coping strategies, resilience, and well-
being. Some of these initiatives focus on in-service teachers (e.g., Harris et al.,
2016), while others focus on pre-service teachers (e.g., Hirshberg, Flook,
Enright, & Davidson, 2020). The ultimate aims of the programs are usually
dual: to enhance teachers’ wellbeing and mental health (Harris et al., 2016),
and to enable them to transfer gained skills into their classroom presence and
class management (Hirshberg et al., 2020; Jennings & Greenberg, 2009).
Weare (2014) summarized various contributions of mindfulness-based
programs for teachers, collected mostly by self-report methodologies:
Reduction in occupational stress and burnout and increase in coping skills.
Better mental health and less distress, anxiety, and depression tendencies.
Greater wellbeing, and enhanced life satisfaction, self-efficacy, and self-
Increased kindness, empathy, and compassion to others.
Better physical health and fewer reported health-related symptoms.
630 N. Sheinman and P. Russo-Netzer
Increased cognitive performance, including decision-making and response-
Enhanced job performance, with better classroom management and atten-
tiveness to students.
Three meta-analysis studies (Klingbeil & Renshaw, 2018; Lomas et al.,
2017; Zarate et al., 2019) assessed the impacts of mindfulness-based
programs on educators’ wellbeing. The analyses revealed a wide range of
delivery modes, joined by a variety of “satellite” components (e.g., yoga,
imagery, breathwork, mental exercises, discussions) in varied proportions.
Interventions lasted from as little as three weeks up to 16 weeks, and overall
intervention time ranged from 4.5 to 42 hours (Zarate et al., 2019). The
results demonstrate beneficial impacts upon several metrics of mental health
and emotional wellbeing, including decrease stress, anxiety, depression, and
burnout (Zarate et al., 2019) and enhanced wellbeing, emotional regula-
tion, and life satisfaction (Lomas et al., 2017). Most experts agree that more
quality research and defined standards are required (see Emerson et al., 2017,
Emerson, de Diaz, Sherwood, Waters, & Farrell, 2020).
The expansion of mindfulness in education programs around the world led
to various training models aimed at guiding, assisting, or certifying teachers
in guiding children. Each program-specific training typically relates to a
distinct curriculum, such as the PBS curriculum in New Zealand, the MiSP
curriculum in the U.K., or the L2B in the U.S. The training provides a cogni-
tive and experiential understanding of the relevant curriculum and guidelines
Personal practice is a vital ingredient, especially with mindfulness-based
programs, in which the success of the delivery depends on the interior condi-
tion of the teachers. There is a consensus among experts about the importance
for teachers to acquaint themselves with the experiential non-cognitive
qualities (e.g., patience, acceptance, non-striving, kindness) embedded in
mindfulness-based practices (Albrecht, 2018). Moreover, mindfulness-based
practices may reduce teachers’ self-centredness (Berkovich-Ohana, Jennings,
&Lavy,2019), and promote awareness, reflection, and attentiveness (Roeser,
Skinner, Beers, & Jennings, 2012). These may enable improved social-
emotional competence, attunement to students, and a positive classroom
climate (Berkovich-Ohana et al., 2019; Roeser et al. 2012).
24 Mindfulness in Education: Insights Towards an Integrative Paradigm 631
Mindfulness and Positive Education
Mindfulness and positive psychology, in their philosophy, assumptions, and
intentions, share several common themes, a fact that provides a fertile
ground for in-depth dialogue and mutual learning. There are emergent
discussions concerning the potential integration of these two fields, albeit
mostly regarding adults. Recent attempts have already started to explore
possible ways to weave and integrate mindfulness and positive psychology
among school-aged children. Still, the evidence-based literature examining
the synergy between the two is rather scanty.
As Ivtzan and Lomas (2016) reported, relating to adult populations,
research has indicated that mindfulness enhances both hedonic and eude-
monic wellbeing. Furthermore, the synergy between character strength (as
defined by positive psychology) and mindfulness, and the potential integra-
tion between the two, have been described and discussed (Niemiec, 2013).
Investigations of programs with adults have found that mindfulness-based
outcomes correlated with higher levels of self-esteem, satisfaction with life,
psychological flexibility, happiness, positive affect, and optimism (Shapiro,
de Sousa, & Jazaieri, 2016).
Both mindfulness in education and positive education agree that
twenty-first-century schooling should enhance social-emotional competen-
cies, psychological health, wellbeing, and resilience. The two approaches seem
to differ in the methodologies offered to achieve these desired outcomes. Inte-
grating both perspectives, supported by their accumulative science and prac-
tice, can enhance our understanding and application of each, and potentiate
Former programs that included mindfulness in positive education executed
the integration in varying degrees and styles. For instance, in one initiative
in Bhutan, the ratio between the mindfulness-based sessions and the life
skills themes in the curriculum was 1:10, and the typical timespan of each
mindfulness-based practice was only a few minutes (Adler, 2016). Another
positive education initiative in Spain, which studied the Happy Classroom
Program, combined mindfulness-based themes with character strength themes
on a 1:1 ratio (Lombas et al., 2019). However, the average timespan of each
mindfulness-based session, implemented twice a week during the 18-week
project, was less than 4 minutes each. From a mindfulness in education
perspective, and the “dose–response” principle, both initiatives represent a
low dose and a low-intensity protocol.
In conceptualizing collaboration and integration between positive educa-
tion and mindfulness in education, various themes seem to stand out:
632 N. Sheinman and P. Russo-Netzer
Further explorations can determine and uncover how to best integrate the
two systems and generate a more inclusive, holistic, and systematic model.
Each discipline has its tradition, perspectives, definitions, and terminolo-
gies, and there is a lack of a shared language. There is a need for more
dialogue and agreements on taxonomy, measures and research methods,
and their translation into practice.
Character strength and developmental assets principles, unique to posi-
tive psychology, are lacking in the mindfulness in education pedagogies.
Further work is needed to explore how mindfulness, character strength,
and assets can work together or enhance each other, for the benefit of
children or teachers.
Further research on mindfulness-based practices can optimize its applica-
tion for positive youth development.
The experiential practices of mindfulness, adapted to youth, offer unique
“learning from within” methods for positive psychology. Current outcomes
with children already demonstrate the power of these practices to enhance
self-awareness, serenity, self-regulation, self-compassion, kindness, coping
skills, and resilience.
Mindfulness-based practices can enhance children’s coping strategies, thus
complementing the coping skills attained through positive education
The application of movement-based practices, prevalent in mindfulness in
education, may serve positive education pedagogies.
Mindfulness-based practices, coupled with an inquiry, reflection, and
dialogue, create a contemplative pedagogy that deepens insights and self-
discovery. The contemplative methods can complement the pedagogies of
positive psychology and positive education.
Comparing whole-school models, which already exist in both systems, can
amplify insights on implementation and sustainability.
Creating a database of what did not work well in each field may fine-
tune our approaches and help us in cultivating wellbeing, resilience, and
Transforming children, teachers, schools, or education systems is complex and
dynamic, and therefore requires joint efforts from different fields. We envi-
sion collaborative cooperation between mindfulness in education and positive
education, leading to integrative, holistic, creative, and science-based models.
We believe that integrating the two perspectives, in research and practice, can
contribute to a whole, which is bigger than the sum of the parts, in a way
that is applicable, effective, transformative, and sustainable.
24 Mindfulness in Education: Insights Towards an Integrative Paradigm 633
Conclusions and Future Directions
Educational leaders, policymakers, teachers, and students worldwide are
excited about the growing recognition that we must support the whole learner
and ensure children receive the ingredients they need to evolve and thrive.
Schools, in this context, provide the most effective and efficient way to
reach young people, as well as educators, and to cultivate their life skills and
wellbeing competencies. Mindfulness in education offers unique pedagogies,
principles, and practices which resonate with these visions and missions.
This chapter focused on critical issues of mindfulness-based practices in
the education field: the evolution and proliferation of mindfulness in educa-
tional contexts, the place of mindfulness-based pedagogies within education
for wellbeing, prototypes of educational models and initiatives from around
the world, various outcomes and insights gained from mindfulness-based
methods for both students and teachers, and potential meeting points
between mindfulness in education and positive education as a foundation
for integrative dialogue and collaboration.
The field of mindfulness in education encompasses a broad diversity of
models, formats, and functions. Empirical research examining the effec-
tiveness of such programs has increased exponentially, although not always
keeping up with the escalation of classrooms and school-based activities.
Although there is a need for more maturation in the field, the overall results,
accumulated from many countries, are significant and promising. In light
of all that has been done, explored, and discovered by empirical and scien-
tific findings, mindfulness in education can be an essential asset in a new
education paradigm.
Introducing new initiatives and pedagogies carries new issues. As such,
future implementation of mindfulness in educational contexts, including
the careful development and introduction of new models, will ideally be
accompanied by a simultaneous process of empirical assessment.
Transforming education is not simple or easy. To make a meaningful
progress, we need collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, patience, and
resilience. We must mobilize changes that are comprehensive and sustainable,
and support the transformations of teaching, curriculum, teacher preparation,
and school climate and culture. It is time to gather this momentum, ignite
transdisciplinary dialogue, and form a unified framework that can shape the
lives and performance of children across the world.
634 N. Sheinman and P. Russo-Netzer
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... But, as noted earlier, a public health perspective considers possibilities for intervention on causal pathways at both individual and collective levels (Glanz & Bishop, 2010;Institute of Medicine, 2000). Multi-level interventions that explicitly incorporate mindfulness have perhaps most commonly been conducted in workplace or school settings, often with conceptual models that recognize mediation by factors such as organizational culture or classroom climate (Dierynck et al., 2017;Sheinman & Russo-Netzer, 2021;Sutcliffe et al., 2016). Interventions in these settings are often provided to a majority of workers or students in a department, classroom, organization, or school. ...
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Objective The modern mindfulness movement and the public health field are aligned in many approaches, including recognizing psychosocial stress impacts and physical-mental health linkages, valuing “upstream” preventive approaches, and seeking to integrate health promotion activities across multiple social sectors. Yet mindfulness is conspicuously absent from most global and public health literature and practice, suggesting unfulfilled potential. This paper analyzes the mindfulness field from a public health perspective, with the aim of identifying evidential and conceptual bases, methods, potential consequences, and initial research and action agendas for greater integration of mindfulness approaches into global, national, and local public health efforts. Methods This paper reviews scientific and scholarly literature on the currently existing and potential relationships between mindfulness and public health, with special attention to 14 dimensions of potential tension or alignment. Results Several alignments were noted above. However, the mindfulness field is substantially lagging on multi-level interventions (e.g., both individual and collective levels), cultural and religious adaptations, and epidemiologic underpinnings. Both mindfulness and public health initiatives are in need of efforts to promote intercultural, interreligious, and intercontemplative competencies, in developing interventions to address pathogenic factors in the collective attentional environments in society, and in attending to religious and spiritual factors. Conclusions Full public health uptake will benefit from several additional lines of research and innovation, especially greater attention to cultural and religious adaptation, with attention also much needed to multi-level interventions and epidemiologic foundations.
... These fields approach the concept of mindfulness from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. Recently, Sheinman and Russo-Netzer (2021) presented that mindfulness was introduced in schools for enhancing well-being, mental health, social and emotional skills resilience, and academic performance. There are several different aspects of mindfulness, from early Eastern religions to its modern, secular presence in Western science. ...
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, school closures have brought significant disruptions to education throughout the world. This pandemic has affected the mental state of teachers from having to adapt to provide online classes. Teacher resilience refers to the capacity of teachers to survive and thrive in extremely adverse circumstances and sustain their educational purposes. This study attempts to empirically examine the effect of mindfulness on teacher resilience through integrating characteristics of Eastern and Western mindfulness. A concurrent triangulation mixed methodology was applied in this study. In the quantitative part, the cross-sectional questionnaires were completed by 330 teachers who were working in five universities in Thailand and had faced the crisis of COVID-19. The Mindfulness Awareness Attention Scale (MAAS) was employed to quantify mindfulness in Eastern perspective, and the Langer Mindfulness Scale (LMS14) was employed to quantify mindfulness in Western perspective. The Employee Resilience (EmpRes) was used to measure teacher resilience. The estimated structural equation model (SEM) provides strong and convincing support that Western mindfulness positively affects teacher resilience. Novelty seeking and novelty producing which are core factors of Western mindfulness mediate the relationship between mindfulness in Eastern perspective and teacher resilience. Where the survey data were collected, we conducted focus group interviews with five university teachers and executives who had experienced the crisis to understand this relationship in qualitative methodology simultaneously. The findings give additional support to the argument of how mindfulness plays an important role in enhancing teacher resilience. Discussion and practical implications are also included.
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Writing is an essential apparatus for life that can help people develop healthy relationships with themselves, their immediate environment, and the wider world. Combining Creative Writing with Mindfulness has recently given us a new tool, Mindful Writing, a contemporary term, although as a concept one that stretches back in time from ancient writings to the most modern autography. The thesis, Creative Writing, Mindfulness, and Self-Awareness, explores the process of writing as a way of practising Mindfulness and examines the practices of Mindfulness as valuable tools for creativity, the development of self-awareness, and the constitution of an integrated self. In the second creative part of the paper, a five-level program is developed, with creative writing activities aimed at practising Mindfulness.
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Background Mindfulness-based approaches for adults are effective at enhancing mental health, but few controlled trials have evaluated their effectiveness or cost-effectiveness for young people. The primary aim of this trial is to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a mindfulness training (MT) programme to enhance mental health, wellbeing and social-emotional behavioural functioning in adolescence. Methods/designTo address this aim, the design will be a superiority, cluster randomised controlled, parallel-group trial in which schools offering social and emotional provision in line with good practice (Formby et al., Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education: A mapping study of the prevalent models of delivery and their effectiveness, 2010; OFSTED, Not Yet Good Enough: Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education in schools, 2013) will be randomised to either continue this provision (control) or include MT in this provision (intervention). The study will recruit and randomise 76 schools (clusters) and 5700 school students aged 12 to 14 years, followed up for 2 years. DiscussionThe study will contribute to establishing if MT is an effective and cost-effective approach to promoting mental health in adolescence. Trials registrationInternational Standard Randomised Controlled Trials, identifier: ISRCTN86619085. Registered on 3 June 2016.
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Objectives Social-emotional training and mindfulness practice have been suggested as valuable in coping with job-related stress and burnout in the teaching profession. Hence, many interventions aim to cultivate these skills. The “Call to Care – Israel for Teachers” (C2CIT) program employs mindfulness, compassion, and social-emotional skill training, with a unique emphasis on the construct of care. This pilot study explores the effects of the C2CIT program among schoolteachers by comparing self-report measures of teachers trained in the C2CIT program with those of teachers serving as controls.Methods Forty-four teachers were allocated into either the C2CIT program throughout a full academic year, including 20 weekly meetings, or passive control. Before the intervention and immediately after its end, teachers filled self-report questionnaires consisting of mindfulness in teaching, sense of efficacy, trait anxiety, mindfulness, self-compassion, burnout, stress, rumination, reflection, and interpersonal reactivity.ResultsRepeated measures ANOVAs, followed by Tukey honest significant difference post hoc tests revealed that only teachers in the C2CIT group improved in the interpersonal faculties of teachers’ sense of efficacy, interpersonal mindfulness in teaching, and the interpersonal reactivity measures of perspective taking and personal distress. In addition, they also improved in the intrapersonal faculties of mindfulness, perceived stress, rumination, reflection, and self-compassion.Conclusions Our results suggest that the C2CIT program has a significant effect on teachers’ well-being and may be instrumental in reducing stress among educators.
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Teachers are reporting increased incidence of stress, depression, burnout, and anxiety resulting in overall poor mental health and well‐being outcomes. Recently, mindfulness‐based interventions have emerged as having the potential to improve these deleterious impacts. This meta‐analysis investigated the effects of mindfulness‐based interventions on educators in schools. To be included in the review, studies must have been printed in English, used a methodology that included a control group with in‐service teachers as the primary participants. In addition, the intervention needed to have mindfulness as a major component. The search procedures led to the identification of 18 manuscripts that included a total sample of 1,001 educators. Mindfulness interventions ranged greatly in dosage, frequency, and delivery model. Using a random effects model, mindfulness‐based interventions were found to have significant positive effects across all domains. Mindfulness‐based interventions resulted in large effects on feelings of mindfulness, moderate effects for decreases in stress and anxiety, and small effects on feelings of depression and burnout. Discussion includes the quality of the literature base as well as implications for future research.
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There is a growing evidence base for mindfulness-based interventions in educational settings. Notably, there has been little investigation of the potential benefits of classroom-based mindfulness programs in children in the early school years (Preparatory/Kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2) despite early childhood being a period characterized by the development of self-regulation and executive functions. The present study investigated the effects of a mindfulness program that was embedded within a school curriculum. This waitlist controlled trial investigated the effects of a mindfulness program, CalmSpace, delivered by classroom teachers across two school terms. A total of 55 students, M age = 76.4 months, SD = 8.62, were allocated to participate in CalmSpace in Terms 3 and 4. Thirty-six students in the waitlist control condition, M age = 80.53 months, SD = 13.04, participated in the intervention in Term 4. The start of Term 3 served as baseline (Time 1), and measures were obtained at the end of Term 3 (Time 2) and the end of Term 4 (Time 3). Direct measures of executive functioning using the Flanker Inhibitory Control and Attention Test (Flanker Task) and Dimensional Change Card Sort Task (DCCS) from the National Institute of Health Toolkit were obtained. Teachers' report of children's behavior was also obtained using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (Teacher version) at the beginning and at the end of Term 3, and at the end of Term 4. Children who received the CalmSpace program showed improvements on the DCCS relative to waitlist control at Time 2 (Cohen's d = 0.48) and Time 3 (Cohen's d = 1.10). Similar results were found on the Flanker Task with greater improvements found at Time 2 (Cohen's d = 0.77) and Time 3 (Cohen's d = 1.33). Teachers reported improvements for those receiving CalmSpace at Time 2 on total SDQ scores, Emotional Symptoms, Conduct Problems, Hyperactivity/Attention (Cohen's d = 0.32, 0.14, 0.46, 0.30, 0.33, and 0.53, respectively) compared to waitlist control and at Time 3 (Cohen's d = 0.85, 0.37, 0.48, and 0.90, respectively). The findings demonstrate that implementing the CalmSpace program can lead to improvements in EF and attention for young children. Despite limitations, this study provides promising evidence that the inclusion of focused, targeted mindfulness activities throughout the day may represent a value-added component to the regular school curriculum that can result in benefits for the students.
Teachers vary in their ability to enact effective teaching practices. We randomly assigned 88 early education preservice teachers to standard teacher education or teacher education plus a 9-week mindfulness-based intervention. Using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) as our primary outcome, we assessed effective teaching practices at baseline and at a 6-month follow-up that occurred during full-time student teaching. Mindfulness, negative affect, and well-being were assessed at baseline, post-test, and follow-up. At follow-up, we observed significant GROUP × time interactions on all major CLASS domains: Instructional supports, Emotional supports, and Classroom organization favoring the intervention group (Cohen's d's 0.53-0.65). Daily mindfulness practice was significantly associated with intervention group improvements on Instructional supports (r = .39) and Classroom organization (r = .38). No group differences were observed on negative affect or well-being. Implications for teacher education are discussed.
Teacher stress is at an all-time high, negatively impacting the quality of education and student outcomes. In recent years, mindfulness-based interventions have been shown to promote well-being and reduce stress among healthy adults. In particular, mindfulness-based interventions enhance emotion regulation and reduce psychological distress. One such program specifically designed to address teacher stress is Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE). The present study examined teachers' self-reported data collected at three time points over two consecutive school years as part of a randomized controlled trial of CARE. The study involved 224 teachers in 36 elementary schools in high poverty areas of New York City. Teachers were randomly assigned within schools to receive CARE or to a waitlist control group. This study builds on previous experimental evidence of the impacts of CARE on teacher self-reported outcomes for this sample of teachers within one school year (Jennings et al., 2017). Results indicate that at the third assessment point (9.5 months after participating in the program), CARE teachers showed continued significant decreases in psychological distress, reductions in ache-related physical distress, continued significant increases in emotion regulation and some dimensions of mindfulness. Findings indicate that teachers who participated in mindfulness-based professional development through CARE reported both sustained and new benefits regarding their well-being at a follow-up assessment almost one-year post-intervention compared to teachers in the control condition. Implications for further research and policy are discussed.