Teaching Mindfulness to Year Sevens as Part of Health and Personal development
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Recently the adoption of mindfulness or contemplative based approaches has escalated across many sectors, including in education. Proponents argue that mindfulness based teaching programs improve students’ life skills, provide emotional balance, reduce stress and enhance classroom climate. To date though there is little evaluation or knowledge of how young people experience such programs introduced to classroom settings. This paper reports some key insights gained from an independent evaluation of a pilot mindfulness based teaching program implemented (over nine weeks) with a class of thirty, year seven students at a private school in Adelaide. The research methods incorporated a self-completed student questionnaire and Smiley Face evaluation sheets, interviews with teachers and classroom observations. The implications for teachers are about who should teach mindfulness in school settings, the sorts of curricula adopted, and recognition that a general school classroom is not an ideal space for conducting mindfulness-based activities.