Contemplative Neuroscience as a Gateway to Mindfulness: Findings from an Educationally Framed Teacher Learning Program
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2018
Pages: 1723 - 1735
Source ID: shanti-sources-62766
Abstract: A growing number of publications have been exploring the possible effects of mindfulness-based interventions on teachers’ well-being and their professional lives. Notwithstanding promising results in this domain, this paper identifies some difficulties involved in introducing teachers to mindfulness and proposes that there may be a need to develop alternative routes by which to expose more teachers to experiences of mindfulness. We report on a mixed method study of a 5-week teacher learning program implemented in an Israeli middle school with 30 teachers, 28 of which were females, with an age range of 29–55. The program was designed to invite teachers into initial experiences with mindfulness without formally engaging in mindfulness practice but rather based on studying education-relevant brain theory through a contemplative pedagogical approach. Outcomes were analyzed quantitatively by comparing collaborative concept maps created by the participants before and after undergoing the program, and qualitatively by analyzing themes extracted from the participants’ discourse. Findings show that the program (a) mobilized teachers from fixed to growth mindsets in regard to their role as educators as reflected in a significant increase in teachers’ beliefs that basic brain abilities are malleable (as extracted from the concept maps, p = 0.004), (b) offered them initial experiences of mindfulness, and (c) possibly opened them to consider more direct approaches to mindfulness practice that are offered in mindfulness-based interventions.