Primary teachers' knowledge, beliefs and perspectives on the practice of mindfulness in schools : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Psychology in Education at Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Youth mental health and wellbeing is a complex issue which requires prevention strategies from early childhood through entry into adulthood. Schools are well positioned to promote and develop student’s overall capacity for wellbeing and have a responsibility to do so. Mindfulness has been identified as a potential practice to support the development of wellbeing and human flourishing in both clinical and non-clinical settings. There is an increasing body of research which has found mindfulness-based interventions to have positive effects on human wellbeing and academic achievement as well. Mindfulness practice also develops an attitude of acceptance which fosters equanimity, creating space for reflection and perspective taking; allowing for self-acceptance and greater awareness of self and others. Increasingly mindfulness skills and capabilities are being fostered through mindful-based programs designed for school curriculums. The aim of this study was to gain a greater understanding of primary teachers’ knowledge, beliefs and perspectives about mindfulness in schools. Specifically, this study aimed to capture primary teachers’ views who have not yet been involved in the training or implementation of a formal mindfulness school based program. Placed within a constructivist epistemology this study included 45 participants (n=45) who completed an online survey. The survey was designed using mixed-method research methodology to gather teacher perspectives. Results revealed most primary teachers in this study were prepared to implement mindfulness in schools, and believed schools should be providing mindfulness programs. The results of this study indicate that the implementation of mindfulness in schools is both supported by teachers and viewed as feasible to implement in primary settings. Teachers understood some of the ways in which mindfulness promotes and develops valuable life skills for students in relation to improving their mental health, building individual capacity for coping, and being resilient, and improving student’s overall well-being. Implications for schools and teachers interested in beginning a mindfulness programme at primary school are discussed.
Mindfulness (Psychology), School children, Mental health services, New Zealand, Social skills, Study and teaching (Elementary), Elementary school teachers, Attitudes