Building Teachers' Social-Emotional Competence through Mindfulness Practices

By Dorman, Elizabeth | Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue, January-December 2015 | Go to article overview

Building Teachers' Social-Emotional Competence through Mindfulness Practices


Dorman, Elizabeth, Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue


"I am so stressed out and overwhelmed by everything on my plate that I almost feel paralyzed."

"I am really worried about being judged harshly with the new evaluation rubric for teachers, and I am afraid of losing my job or status if my students do not score highly enough on the state standardized exams."

"I am at wit's end with how to deal with Celia's defiance and unwillingness to follow my directions in class and get on task."

"I snapped at a student when he questioned my authority in front of the class."

These comments reflect the kinds of emotional stressors and pressures that contemporary educators may face on a daily basis. Many teachers, especially those in urban or low-income settings, are stressed out, as widely cited (e.g., Abel & Sewell, 1999; Meiklejohn et al., 2012; Montgomery & Rupp, 2005). Weaver and Wilding (2013) report hearing repeatedly from teachers across the country that in the current educational climate, "they have become overloaded and overwhelmed with new policies and standards, and it has become difficult to find the time and energy to engage in anything beyond what is absolutely required by schools or districts" (p. 1). But to what extent do teachers have opportunities to develop concrete strategies and internal dispositions during their teacher preparation programs to help them address these increasingly challenging scenarios? Practicing teachers are rarely provided with resources for how to alleviate stress and maintain well-being (Meiklejohn et al., 2012). As Michalec argues, "In addition to technical expertise, 21st century teachers and teacher-leaders need a steady supply of passion, heart, and inner resiliency to resist burnout and effectively respond to the curricular, societal, and institutional conditions of teaching" (2013, p. 27).

This article reports on the process and lessons learned from a three-year action research project of integrating mindfulness and contemplative practices into my pre-service and master's level education courses as a way to build teachers' social-emotional competence, including the "inner resiliency" to which Michalec refers. The paper is guided by three research questions:

1. What are my students' perceptions and attitudes about the integration of mindfulness practices into our teacher education courses?

2. What evidence exists, if any, that the mindfulness practices contribute to teacher education students' social-emotional competence?

3. How has my facilitation and implementation of this process evolved over time?

This article is directed towards other practitioners who aspire to or currently integrate mindfulness practices into their courses, as well those interested more generally in mindfulness in education.

THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES

Colleges (and teacher education programs) as institutions have been criticized for focusing too much on knowledge development and not enough on personal reflection of one's self and larger purpose and how to seek meaning in one's life (Lewis, 2006; Taylor, 2010). However, "neuroscience, learning theory, and teaching experience all illustrate that the social and emotional dimensions of learning are not only inextricably linked to academic success, but are indeed at its very foundation" (Weaver & Wilding, 2013, p. 1). Methods of teaching and working with students that are grounded in contemplative modes such as mindfulness training "provide the opportunity for students to develop creativity and insight, hone their concentration skills, and deeply inquire about what means the most to them. These practices naturally deepen understanding while increasing connection and community within higher education" (Barbezat & Bush, 2014, p. 8).

An exponentially increasing body of neuroscientific research supports the claim that mindfulness training can help reduce stress and increase overall wellbeing. Mindfulness is defined by secular mindfulness expert Dr. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Building Teachers' Social-Emotional Competence through Mindfulness Practices
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.