Source: Teacher Development, Vol. 19, No. 3, 381–401, 2015
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The aim of this study was to examine the possible effects of a six-week mindfulness programme for student teachers, and the feasibility of implementing the programme in a local community.
The authors hypothesised that a six-week mindfulness-based programme would increase mindfulness and well-being while reducing stress and symptoms of depression.
The participants were 70 pre-service teachers in Hong Kong.
The participants undertook a six-week course delivered by the second author, an experienced secondary school teacher and a mindfulness instructor with more than 10 years of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and insight meditation training experience.
Data were collected through pre- and the post-intervention questionnaire surveys, which were conducted for the intervention and the control groups, and focus group interviews.
The results indicate that most students experienced poor well-being and mild anxiety. However, the six-week mindfulness programme significantly increased the mindfulness and well-being of the intervention group. Furthermore, the depression, anxiety and stress scores of the intervention group dropped while those of the control group increased after the six-week mindfulness programme, suggesting that the changes may have been a result of mindfulness training.
The correlation analyses revealed a positive correlation between mindfulness and well-being
after the mindfulness programme, and a negative correlation between mindfulness and depression, anxiety and stress. The number of hours participants spent in the programme was significantly correlated with mindfulness (MAAS).
In summary, an increase in mindfulness was predictive of an increase in well-being before and after the mindfulness training. A decrease in mindfulness predicted decreases in depression, anxiety and stress. Thus, addressing mindfulness can be a useful strategy for pre-service teachers to manage their depression and stress.
In conclusion, this study provides initial and encouraging results for the potential effectiveness of mindfulness training in enhancing the psychosocial conditions of student teachers, with a significant increase in mindfulness and wellbeing. The positive responses from the qualitative findings reflected that a mindfulness- based programme was beneficial to student teachers and college students to increase well-being and reduce stress and anxiety. Qualitative data reflected that the mindfulness programme was beneficial to and feasible for pre-service teachers.
In this study, because mindfulness was a significant predictor of well-being, stress, anxiety and depression, a mindfulness programme can be considered a cost-effective stress management strategy for pre-service teachers during their professional training.
This study identified, the three key domains of mindfulness to include are mindful presence, openness to experience and non-judgemental acceptance. The four skills of mindfulness are slowing down the pace of everyday life, cultivating a sense of compassion, enjoying every ‘here-and-now’ moment and becoming aware of the internal changes in mind and body. Such a programme could be implemented in teaching education to promote well-being and stress management while preventing burnout among teaching professionals.