Date of Award

4-2020

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, Ed.D.

Department

Education

First Advisor

Eric Anctil

LC Subjects

Teachers--Mental health--Canada; Teachers--Study and teaching; Mindfulness (Psychology); Well-being

Abstract

Schools and teachers have a tremendous task set before them as they address challenges that are not only academic but are related to the education of soft-skills and dispositions not generally associated with a particular subject or content area. Incorporating mindfulness into education supports the goal of educating the whole child. The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate whether and to what extent a relationship existed between teaching mindfulness and the self-reported mindfulness practices and well-being of teachers in Alberta, Canada. This study utilized a correlational quantitative approach to explore four research questions: (a) what mindfulness techniques do teachers in Alberta implement in their own lives? (b) is there a relationship between the extent to which teachers in Alberta report implementing mindfulness in their classrooms and their self-reported mindfulness scores? (c) is there a relationship between the extent to which teachers in Alberta report implementing mindfulness in their classrooms and their self-reported well-being scores? (d) what is the relationship between self-reported mindfulness and well-being scores of teachers in Alberta?

One anonymous school division in the province of Alberta was chosen as the sample to represent the population. The sample bore demographic characteristics similar to the larger group from which the sample was drawn. The eligible participants (N = 606) included certified teachers from pre-kindergarten through Grade 12 who are currently employed by the selected school division; those in division office or exclusively administrative positions were not included in this study. This research utilized two pre-existing, validated, 14-question instruments: the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (Walach, Buchheld, Buttenmüller, Kleinknecht, & Schmidt, 2006) and The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (Tennant et al., 2007). The instruments were combined into one three-section online survey, which took approximately six minutes to complete. The survey was distributed via email to principals, who then presented it to their staff during a staff meeting, and time was provided during the staff meeting should the teachers wish to participate. A total of 426 survey responses were received and 371 of those were deemed eligible for this study; 22% identified as male (n = 80), 76% identified as female (n = 283), 1% identified as other (n = 2), and the remaining 2% preferred not to respond (n = 6).

Results from the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory indicated participants’ overall personal mindfulness were slightly above the middle possible score of 35 (M = 38.09, SD = 6.67). Also, the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale indicated the participants in this study scored in the average range for well-being (M = 48.66, SD = 8.48). Correlations between all measures were conducted using Spearman’s Rho and linear regressions. There were statistically significant (p < .001) relationships among the mindfulness score, teaching mindfulness integration, personal life mindfulness integration, and well-being score. To more thoroughly explore the relationships between the measures, data were disaggregated by gender and grade level taught to determine if either of those factors were associated with those relationships.

From the results, statistically significant positive correlations were identified between personal mindfulness, teaching mindfulness, and well-being. The evidence also indicated that a discrepancy exists surrounding mindfulness-based instruction in elementary and secondary classrooms, with less integration taking place in secondary classrooms than in elementary classrooms. The results suggest that personal mindfulness in conjunction with teaching mindfulness are potential factors to address when considering teacher well-being deficiencies. When taken together, teaching mindfulness and engaging in mindfulness practices yield promising outcomes as methods of improving teacher well-being. This study makes a contribution to the field, looking at the relationships of mindfulness and well-being.

Comments

Copyright for this work is retained by the author.

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