What it Takes to Teach Mindfulness in Elementary School: A Qualitative Study of Teachers Delivering the Compassionate Schools Project Curriculum

Mischenko, Polina, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Jennings, Patricia, CU-Curr Instr & Sp Ed, University of Virginia

The manuscripts in this dissertation present three separate, but related, research foci qualitatively exploring what is required to deliver the mindfulness-based Compassionate Schools Project (CSP) social emotional learning curriculum in the elementary school setting. As the success of any school-based intervention greatly depends on quality implementation by a skillful, knowledgeable and authentic teacher (Palmer, 1998), these studies examined the experiences, perspectives and role of teachers delivering the curriculum with differing levels of implementation fidelity. To better understand the factors that influence teachers’ implementation, the first manuscript explored the barriers and facilitators that teachers experienced delivering the curriculum by applying a multilevel ecological perspective (e.g., Durlak & DuPre, 2008). Based on our analyses, relational trust (Bryk & Schneider, 2002) between the implementer and actors in the ecological system emerged and was found to be instrumental to successful implementation. One of the relationships that we examined was the implementers’ relationship with themselves. The second and third manuscripts honed in on three themes that appeared to influence this relationship: implementers buy-in, personal practice, and ability to embody mindfulness while teaching mindfulness. The second manuscript applied elements of grounded theory (Corbin & Strauss, 2015) to develop a conceptual framework for how teachers (with high fidelity of implementation) cultivated their passion (or a high-level of buy-in) to practice and deliver CSP. The third manuscript focused on teachers’ embodiment of mindfulness. The manuscript examines how CSP teachers embody mindfulness while teaching and expands on an existing framework (Teacher Mindfulness in the Classroom; Rickert, Skinner, & Roeser, 2019) to propose a new conceptual framework for mindfully teaching mindfulness in the elementary school context.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
mindfulness, qualitative, Compassionate Schools Project, elementary, social emotional learning, implementation
Sponsoring Agency:
Mind & Life Institute

1440 Grant

Issued Date: