Nurturing Educator Well-Being:

Mindfulness Practices That Support Self-Awareness

Mark T. Greenberg

If there is any area of research in SEL that shows both strong consistency and strong effects it is the replicated findings that mindful practices when integrated with social and emotional awareness can lead to improvements in educator’s well-being and enjoyment of teaching. Some projects have also found effects on teacher’s physiological health (stress response, blood pressure) and a few have shown effects also on student outcomes[i].


 

Years ago, Robert Roeser and I conceptualized how mindfulness practices could deepen the five CASEL-identified SEL competencies (see Figure).  Through using practices that increase awareness of emotional states, self-regulation, deepening our compassion for ourselves and others, increasing our ability to listen with empathy and understanding to others, and using the ethics of “no harm” and “compassion for all” in making interpersonal and intrapersonal decisions, we asserted that mindful practices could lead to greater awareness and thus strengthen our social and emotional competence and performance.  This may be especially true for teachers and administrators who have highly stressful jobs and in which they are required to make hundreds of quick decisions each day.

Christa Turksma (Co- developer of CARE &  Director of Training)  has developed five short mindful practices for each of the five CASEL Competencies. Today we are releasing the first five practices that focus on the CASEL Competency of Self-Awareness.  These short practices focus on Setting a Daily Intention, Experiencing Joy, doing a Body Scan, Becoming Aware of Our Scripts, A Day at the Beach (how emotions impact our thoughts). These five Self-Awareness Practices can be found here.

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[i] Wilson, D, Rodrigues de Oliveira, F., Ponteciano, B, et al. (2022)  Fostering emotional self-regulation in female teachers at the public teaching network: A mindfulness-based intervention improving psychological measures and inflammatory biomarkers, Brain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health, 21, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbih.2022.100427.

Harris, A. R., Jennings, P. A., Katz, D. A., Abenavoli, R. M., & Greenberg, M. T. (2015). Promoting stress management and well-being in educators: Outcomes of the CALM Intervention. Mindfulness, 7,143-154. DOI 10.1007/s12671-015-0451-2.

Carroll A., York A., Fynes-Clinton S., et al. (2021). The Downstream Effects of Teacher Well-Being Programs: Improvements in Teachers’ Stress, Cognition and Well-Being Benefit Their Students. Frontiers in Psychology. 12, 689628. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.689628

de Carvalho, J. S., Oliveira, S., Roberto, M. S., Gonçalves, C., Bárbara, J. M., de Castro, A. F., . . . Marques-Pinto, A. (2021). Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention for teachers: A study on teacher and student outcomes. Mindfulness, 12(7), 1719-1732. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01635-3

Jennings, P. A., Doyle, S., Oh, Y., Rasheed, D., Frank, J. L., & Brown, J. L. (2019). Long-term impacts of the CARE program on teachers' self-reported social and emotional competence and well-being. Journal of School Psychology, 76, 186-202. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2019.07.009


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