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Mindfulness in K-12

educational settings
Jessie Byrd, Kara McNamara, & Nicole Simpson
1. Introduction
2. Review of the Literature
3. Research Questions
4. Hypothesis
5. Methodology
6. Results
7. Discussion
8. Validity, Reliability, & Limitations
9. Recommendations for Future Research
10. Implications for School Counselors
11. References
● Mindfulness as a research interest
● Use of past research to guide the project
○ Positive outcomes from mindfulness interventions
○ Time-efficiency of interventions
○ Ability to deliver programs across all K-12 grade levels
○ Applicable and amenable to each school counseling internship site
Literature: Mindfulness in Schools
● Operational definition of mindfulness
○ A state of active, open attention on the present… When you're mindful, you carefully
observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you
by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on
the past or anticipating the future. (Psychology Today, 2017)

● Mindfulness in the school setting

○ Recent interest in mindfulness training in schools; initial research is yielding promising findings
(Schonert-Reichl et al., 2015)

● Potential outcomes of mindfulness interventions for students

○ Beneficial results with all youth (preschool through high school) (Zoogman, Goldberg, Hoyt, & Miller, 2015)
○ Helps develop cognitive, social, and emotional skills; current push in educational systems to
focus on supporting the social-emotional development of students alongside their academic
development (Schonert-Reichl, 2015)
Literature: developmental considerations
Elementary School
● Developmental stage; foundation for personalities, behaviors, skills
● Effects of adapted, age-appropriate mindfulness on student behavior
● Implications of SEL Lessons
● Effects of mindfulness programs in classroom curriculum
Middle School
● Classroom-based mindfulness meditation
● Effects of mindfulness with Latino students
● Effects of mindfulness on homeless youth
Literature: developmental considerations
High School
● Mindfulness Outcomes for Adolescents
● Internalizing & Externalizing Symptoms
● Student-Reported Reflections on Mindfulness Interventions
Learning Differences
● Mindfulness Martial Arts for ADHD and anxiety
● Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for ADHD and dyslexia
● Mindful breathing during reading fluency tasks for ADHD
REsearch question

What are the effects of mindful interventions on

students’ mindful behavior in K-12 educational
H0: There is no difference between K-12 students’
mindful behavior and their participation in a
mindfulness intervention.

H1: K-12 students who participate in a mindfulness

intervention will exhibit increased mindful
● Quasi-experimental, mixed methods
● Participants: Referral & Descriptive Information
○ Elementary School
○ Middle School
○ High School
● Measures
○ Mindful Student Questionnaire (MSQ) as pre-test and post-test
○ Grounded Theory-focused interviews and discussions
● Testing
○ Paired samples t-test
Mindful student Questionnaire (MSQ)

(Measuring mindful attention, acceptance, and approach persistence)

Lesson Plans
Lesson 1: Mindfulness and The Brain

Lesson 2: Mindfulness and Muscle Relaxation

Lesson 3: Mindfulness and Art

Lesson 4: Mindfulness and The Senses

● Findings
○ Significant increases in K-12 students’ mindful acceptance scores,
mindful attention scores, mindful composite scores, and mindful
approach and persistence (p < .001)
■ Significant increases at elementary and high school levels as well
■ Significant increases at middle school level for composite scores

● Results are consistent with rejecting the null hypothesis

that there is no difference between K-12 students’ mindful
behavior and their participation in a mindfulness
Results: K-12
Results: K-12
Results: Elementary School
Results: Elementary School
Results: Middle School
Results: Middle School
Results: High School
Results: High School
● Written and verbal responses, both formative and summative

● Majority of students responded positively

● Two elementary school students vocalized lack of excitement

● One middle school student expressed irritation with the

counseling intern’s voice
● Significant increases in mindful acceptance and attention in K-12
○ Lack of overall significance at the middle school level could be
associated with influence of learning differences

● Findings reflect trends in current literature

○ Mindfulness interventions are efficient and practical

● Interventions strengthened approach and persistence mindsets

○ Promotes social-emotional development
○ Promotes stress-reduction
Validity, Reliability, & Limitations
● Validity
○ Internal: Statistical significance and qualitative data
○ External: Diverse sample, but small sample limits generalizability
● Reliability
○ Largely significant results across settings, grade levels, demographics, and
○ The interventions and instrument were suitable for comprehension by all ages
● Limitations
○ Small sample size (particularly of the high school sample)
○ Use of only one measure of mindfulness
Recommendations for future research
● Larger sample size
○ Continued diversity of age
○ Increased multicultural diversity of participants

● Additional mindfulness measures

○ Ability to cross-reference the impact of the mindfulness intervention by
analyzing the data from two distinct measures
○ Further examination and understanding of the impact of the intervention
through multiple facets of the research questions
Implications for school counselors
● Minimal, intentional lessons and conversations have the potential to produce
positive outcomes in students

● Modeling, teaching, and applying throughout a comprehensive program

(supports emotional, social, and academic success)

● Collaboration and training with teachers and other stakeholders

● Incorporation into core curriculum and common school language

○ Not limited to formal lessons and programs
○ All students have potential to benefit
In Conclusion...
This study supports current research that
mindfulness interventions can be impactful
in educational settings across all grade levels,
providing students with lifelong tools for
managing emotions and behaviors.

School counselors have an essential role

in creating school cultures that foster mindful practices,
supporting the academic, social, and
emotional development of students.
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