The experience and impact of mindfulness lessons introduced in upper primary school, on pupils and teachers
: a mixed methods investigation

  • Julie Docherty

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Educational Psychology


    There is a considerable quantity of research which investigates the experimental evidence on the impact of mindfulness-based interventions in clinical settings. There is also a growing body of literature which explores theoretical propositions on the components of mindfulness as a construct for measurement and postulates about the potential mechanisms of change brought about by mindfulness practice. Research into school based mindfulness programmes aimed at universal populations is at an earlier stage. There is also a paucity of qualitative research which identifies the perspectives of teachers and pupils on experiencing mindfulness-based instruction and activity in the classroom.

    This research involved the collaborative development with school teaching staff of a bespoke mindfulness programme for upper primary school children, aged 9 to 11 years. Over a two year period the mindfulness-based lessons were trialled (year one), and adapted, implemented and evaluated (year two) using a mixed methods approach. In years one and two, samples of pupils taking part in the lessons completed pre and post self-report questionnaires on a range of measures looking at: emotional self-regulation; mindfulness; academic resilience; and coping self-efficacy. The results were compared with a waiting-list control group. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to interview teachers and pupils to elicit their lived experience of taking part in the lessons. The data was triangulated to look for areas of confirmatory or contradictory evidence.

    The research identified patterns of positive change in mindfulness and academic resilience across the two years. The interviews with teachers and pupils revealed original and significant information that has implications for future research and the implementation of mindfulness-based lessons in schools. The limitations of this research, proposed directions for future research and the on-going impact of the research in the local authority are set out.
    Date of Award2019
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorBeth Hannah (Supervisor) & Linda Corlett (Supervisor)

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