Academic journal article Journal of Adult Education

Mindfulness and Student Success

Academic journal article Journal of Adult Education

Mindfulness and Student Success

Article excerpt

Abstract

Mindfulness has long been practiced in Eastern spiritual traditions for personal improvement, and educators and educational institutions have recently begun to explore its usefulness in schools. Mindfulness training can be valuable for helping students be more successful learners and more connected members of an educational community. To determine if mindfulness instruction should be incorporated into curriculum at all levels of formal education to help students be more successful in their academic pursuits, a thorough review of research was conducted using primary and secondary sources of the possible applications and results of mindfulness in education. Mindfulness education was helpful in some specific ways: minimizing the impact of bullying, helping students with learning disabilities, benefiting students who are training in careers with high emotion and stress, and coaching. Based on the results, students who have mindfulness incorporated in their curriculum could potentially reap benefits academically and personally.

The Oxford dictionary (2014) defines mindfulness as "a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations". Mindfulness often refers to specific practices used to focus a person's attention - meditation, yoga, breathing, single-pointed concentration on an object - and is characterized by intentionality and nonjudgmental observation of experience (Broderick & Jennings, 2012). Mindfulness is often associated with Eastern spirituality, but mindfulness' purely secular applications have been increasingly explored in settings as varied as the workplace, correctional facilities, and educational institutions.

Formal education can be challenging and stressful for all students. Students at every level - elementary school, middle school, high school, undergraduate universities and colleges, and graduate and professional studies - face similar challenges to learning and being a part of an institution of learning. While educational institutions can be settings where wondrous learning and growth can occur, they can also play host to negative internal states such as anxiety, isolation, and depression that may not only decrease a person's learning experience but may also lead to behaviors like violence and bullying. Educators must focus on academic outcomes and classroom material but can also promote new non-academic curriculum to create a better learning environment. Mindfulness training can be valuable for helping students be more successful learners and more connected members of an educational community. Should mindfulness instruction be incorporated into curriculum at all levels of formal education to help students be more successful in their academic pursuits?

Methods

A thorough search was made of primary and secondary sources related to mindfulness and education. The author utilized the Academic Search

Premier database through Colorado State University Libraries. Search terms included the following terms and combination of terms:

· Mindfulness

· Mindfulness + education

· Mindfulness + learning

· Mindfulness + school

· Mindfulness + learning disabilities

· Mindfulness + ADHD

General internet searches were used to find statistics and data to frame topics and show relevance to educators.

Findings

The literature review yielded interesting results on the connection between mindfulness and student success. Some research focuses on mindfulness' effects on particular attributes that affect student success including general learning skills that affect academic performance, critical thinking skills, behavior and self-control, and jobspecific skills developed in some graduate and professional degree programs. Mindfulness has been studied as a method to alleviate the negative effects of bullying in schools. Some research focuses on how mindfulness can be used to help students with learning disabilities. …

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