The Influence of Mindfulness on Teachers' Professional Practice

DeMauro, Anthony, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Jennings, Patricia, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Research has consistently demonstrated that mindfulness training for teachers can lead to a number of intrapersonal benefits including reduced stress and improved well-being. Evidence is also beginning to show that mindfulness training can have interpersonal benefits for teachers as well by improving the quality of their interactions with students. However, very little research has examined how this occurs or what elements of mindfulness are particularly useful for teachers in their professional practice. This qualitative case study of three teachers who regularly practice meditation and yoga explores how their engagement with mindful awareness practices influences their teaching practice. Findings show that the teachers maintain a mindfulness practice to support their well-being and manage the emotional distress of teaching. Regular engagement with mindful awareness practices also cultivates a state of mindful awareness in their teaching practice, which involves a heightened attention to external events as well as one's inner thoughts and emotions while teaching. Mindfulness also helps teachers regulate emotions triggered in the classroom and respond purposefully to the events. There were some differences in how teachers applied mindfulness to their professional practice based on the unique contexts in which they taught.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Mindfulness, Teaching, Professional Development
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