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Government Support for Mindfulness in Education

Wellbeing in Four Policy Areas - The Government Report

In September, 2014, the government published a report highlighting the benefits of mindfulness practice in health and education.  The report's summary includes the following:

  • Mindfulness has significant potential for improving wellbeing.  A key first step for unlocking this potential is to train education professionals (teachers) in mindfulness.
  • Mindfulness in schools is held back by the perception that wellbeing is irrelevant to the core business of the education system – despite its clear links with academic attainment.
  • There is strong evidence linking mindfulness with a range of benefits including better concentration, greater calmness and reduced emotional reactivity, reduced stress and improved immune functioning, and better overall wellbeing and life satisfaction.
  • Studies suggest that it can improve both children’s mental health and wellbeing and their ability to pay attention, problem-solve, and learn.
  • There may also be particular benefits for children with special needs or difficulties: one study found that mindfulness training helped adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to control their symptoms; another found that it helped reduce aggressive behaviour in boys; and a third found that it led to reduced anxiety and improved academic performance among children with learning disabilities.
  • Finally, there is some evidence that mindfulness programmes can improve teachers’ sense of wellbeing and self-efficacy, as well as their ability to manage classroom behaviour and establish and maintain supportive relationships with students.
  • Witnesses stressed that teachers needed to be properly trained in mindfulness before they could teach it to others – disseminating a standard pack of lessons would not be sufficient. Similarly, witnesses suggested to us that incorporating mindfulness into teacher training could deliver a significant ‘win-win’: supporting them directly in their teaching, thereby improving retention and reducing stress, while also addressing the shortage of trained practitioners able to deliver mindfulness programmes to children.
  • Given these benefits, mindfulness training should, where possible, be made available to existing teachers as part of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD), as well as to new trainees.

The full report can be found at: http://parliamentarywellbeinggroup.org.uk

 

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