Pupil experiences of a 10 week classroom based mindfulness informed program.

12th February 2019 : 17:00 - 18:30

Category: Seminar

Speaker: Dr Edward Miller (Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital)

Location: Seminar Room K/L, Bruner Building C, Department of Education

Convener: Alex Hodgkiss

A part of the Child Development and Learning (CDL) seminar series

Mindfulness informed interventions are being used in schools to promote well-being and potentially alleviate the mental health burden of some pupils. However, in adults, there is increasing interest in the occurrence of difficult and challenging experiences in both mindfulness-based and other psychotherapeutic interventions. Evidence is lacking concerning whether or not similar experiences occur for school pupils participating in mindfulness informed interventions in school. This study explored all experiences encountered by pupils during participation in the 10 week .b (pronounced dot-b) mindfulness course, developed by the Mindfulness in Schools Project, with a particular focus on difficult and challenging pupil experiences.

Four classes in three schools were studied, yielding a total sample of n=65 pupils, aged between 11 and 15 years, who were observed following the course over a 10 week period. In each class, the researcher recorded their observations of the interactions between the teacher and the pupils and how they engaged with the curriculum content. Data was recorded in the form of observation notes, journals, video recording, and interviews.

Some pupils across all three schools experienced increased awareness of, triggering, or fixation of negative or ‘bad’ thoughts, including difficult memories and emotions. Other difficult pupil experiences included feeling judged, finding mixed effectiveness, finding practices weird or uncomfortable, and having difficulty with certain practices. Pupil contexts included interpretation and misinterpretation of content, and teacher contexts included how the curriculum was framed, and how teachers managed difficulties in their pupils. The content of the curriculum and how this may have contributed to pupil experience, as well as other school contexts, are also discussed. Positive pupil experiences are also explored.

Implications for school based mindfulness informed curriculum are discussed and explored, with particular regard to conceptualising, managing and mitigating difficulties. Comparisons and implications for other school based psychoeducational programs and curricula are also discussed.

About the Department of Education

In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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