Presentation on theme: "Promoting Children’s Academic and Social Success Through Mindfulness Education Molly Stewart Lawlor, B.A. Nancy Fischer Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:
Promoting Children’s Academic and Social Success Through Mindfulness Education Molly Stewart Lawlor, B.A. Nancy Fischer Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl, Ph.D. Supporting Children’s Social and Emotional Health: Assessment Tools, Research and Practice U.B.C May 11, 2006
Session Overview 1. Why a strength based approach? A Shift to Positive Psychology 2. Introduction to Mindfulness 3. Introduction to the Mindfulness Education (ME) Program 4. Curriculum of the ME program Nancy Fischer 5. The Spring 2005 Pilot of the ME curriculum in Vancouver, B.C.
Why should we be concerned? There is a growing concern about children’s social-emotional adjustment and mental health: 15% to 30% of school-age children are “at risk” for successful development and require support and assistance (OECD, 1995). Approximately 1 in 5 children (20%) identified with mental health problems (Offord et al., 1991; Romano et al., 2001). 1 in 5 children with mental health problems do not receive the mental health services they need (Canadian Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health, 2000) 28% of children begin middle childhood with significant problems (Advisory Committee on Population Health and Health Security, 2004).
BACKGROUND Making the Case for the Social Side of Learning
Making the Case For the Social Side of Learning “A comprehensive mission for schools is to educate students to be knowledgeable, responsible, socially skilled, healthy, caring, and contributing citizens.” (Greenberg et al., 2003)
Making the Case... “The aim of education is growth or development, both intellectual and moral.” (Dewey, 1964, p. 213.) Analytical intelligence (IQ) accounts for only 10% to 15% of job success and other real-world outcomes. Human and Social Development is one of the goals of the BC school system. BC is leading the way in North America by specifying the development of “social responsibility” as a performance standard.
Making the Case... “A growing body of literature suggests that a deliberate and comprehensive approach to teaching children social and emotional skills can raise their grades and test scores, bolster their enthusiasm for learning, reduce behavior problems, and enhance the brain’s cognitive functions” (Education Week, 2003).”
Cognitive Connections “Because the emotional centers of the brain are very connected to the thinking and learning centers of the brain, we know that people who are better able to control their emotions and moods are effective learners” (Greenberg, 2004).
Recent Research Findings... Changes in academic achievement in Grade 8 could be better predicted from knowing children’s social competence 5 years earlier than from knowing grade 3 academic achievement (Caprara et al., 2000). Prosocial behaviours exhibited by students in the classroom were found to be better predictors of academic achievement than were their standardized test scores (Wentzel, 1993). School interventions that increase social and emotional competence result in higher achievement levels, although the reverse is not true (i.e., academic enrichment does not increase social responsibility) (Coie & Krebhiel, 1984).
Beneficial Outcomes of Happiness Research to date suggests that happy people often contribute more to their communities, have better relationships with others, and are more creative in some realms.
Learned Optimism At the turn of this century, there has been a shift to the study of the positive aspects of human experience. Previous focus in psychology has been on pathology – not on the promotion of the positive features of individuals. A science of positive subjective experience, of positive individual traits, and of positive institutions promises to improve the quality of life and also to prevent the various pathologies that arise when life is barren and meaningless. (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000).
Positive Psychology Three constituent parts Positive psychological experiences Positive psychological experiences Positive psychological traits Positive psychological traits Institutions that enable the first two to occur. Institutions that enable the first two to occur.
Positive Psychology The field of positive psychology at the subjective level is about valued subjective experience: well-being, contentment, and satisfaction (past), hope and optimism (future), and flow and happiness (present). At the individual level it is about positive individual traits -- the capacity for love and vocation, courage, interpersonal skill, aesthetic sensibility, perseverance, forgiveness, originality, future-mindedness, spirituality, high talent, and wisdom. At the group level it is about the civic virtues and the institutions that move individuals toward better citizenship: responsibility, nurturance, altruism, civility, moderation, tolerance, and work ethic.
Shifting Gears: Moving Toward a Focus on Promoting Health Positive Disposition A major predictor of subjective well-being is temperament, but only a portion of this predisposition appears to be genetic. The other component seems to be a learned positive outlook on life, encompassing hope, trust, self-esteem, and optimism. Both individual child-rearing as well as broader cultural factors are likely to be at work.
What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness has been defined in several ways by researchers and scholars within academic literature. Commonly, mindfulness is considered to be a state of being aware of and attentive to the present moment.
Mindfulness Defined Jon Kabat-Zinn (1990) defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and non- judgmentally.”
Mindfulness Defined Ellen Langer (1993) describes mindfulness as a state of mind in which one is sensitive to context and draws novel distinctions and examines information from new perspectives. Langer asserts that education practices that encourage mindfulness create more effective and enjoyable learning environments for students.
Mindfulness-based practices within the ME curriculum The ME Program utilizes activities that foster both of the aforementioned components of mindfulness in a developmentally appropriate manner for elementary school-aged children.
Cultivation of mindfulness Mindfulness-based interventions draw on practices developed within the Buddhist tradition. In recent years, these meditation practices have been used for therapeutic means without requiring any commitment to Buddhist religious doctrines. Growing evidence that mindfulness training has beneficial outcomes in the treatment of a variety of psychological and physical ailments (Kabat- Zinn, 1990; Krazner, 2004; Segal et al., 2003).
What is the Mindfulness Education (ME) Program?
Mindfulness Education (ME) The Mindfulness Education (ME) program is designed to foster children's: problem solving ability, problem solving ability, self-regulation, self-regulation, goal setting, goal setting, prosocial behaviours. prosocial behaviours.
ME Program The ME program was created to help children understand the ways their minds work, and how their thoughts and feelings affect their behavior
More about ME Based on the book "Mind Power for Children - The Guide for Parents and Teachers” authored by Nancy Fischer, and John Kehoe, author of bestselling book "Mind Power into the 21st Century.” The research was supported by Goldie Hawn’s Bright Light Foundation brightlightfoundation.net
Mindfulness Education Theoretical Framework The Mindfulness Education Program (ME) can be considered an early intervention strategy that: Is guided by positive psychology (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Is guided by positive psychology (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Fosters the fundamental needs (autonomy, belonging & competence) as outlined by Fosters the fundamental needs (autonomy, belonging & competence) as outlined by Self Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan 1985). Self Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan 1985). Utilizes Cognitive-Behavioural techniques. Utilizes Cognitive-Behavioural techniques. Incorporates mindfulness-based practices. Incorporates mindfulness-based practices.
Components of the ME Program Week 1: Introduction to Mindfulness Week 2: Learning About Affirmations Week 3: Concentrating on Positive Emotions and Outcomes Week 4: Learning How to Eliminate Negative Thinking Week 5: Acknowledging One another Week 6: “Team Work” Understanding Goal Setting as a Group Week 7: Having a Healthy Body Week 8: Making Friends – Interpersonal Relationships Week 9: No Problems... Only Opportunities Week 10: Celebrating Successes
The ME Program Consists of 5 Main Techniques 1) Quieting the Mind ~ Listening Game/ Soft Belly Breathing 2) Focused Attention ~ Mindful of sensation, thoughts and feelings 3) Focused Intention ~ Affirmations & Visualization 4) Handling Negative emotions and Negative thinking 5) Acknowledgment of self and others.
Evaluating the “Mindfulness Education” Program for Children in Vancouver Spring, 2005
Research to Practice: UBC & VSB Partnership Promoting Students’ Social Responsibility The Mindfulness Education Program for Children
Hypothesis It was hypothesized that, when compared to children in a control group, children who had experienced the ME program would show significant positive changes from pretest to posttest in their self concept, positive emotions, mindful awareness, and teacher-rated behaviors.
Participants 243 children from the 4 th to 7 th grades ME Program, n = 140 (71 boys, 69 girls) ME Program, n = 140 (71 boys, 69 girls) Comparison, n = 103 (55 boys, 48 girls) Comparison, n = 103 (55 boys, 48 girls) Mean Age = 11.42 years (SD =.99), range = 9.34 to 13.41 58% English as a first language, majority of the remaining were Chinese. Students were drawn from schools across a range of socioeconomic status.
Outcome Measures Self Self-concept (General and School Self-Concept) Self-concept (General and School Self-Concept) The Self-Description Questionnaire (SDQ; Marsh, 1993) The Self-Description Questionnaire (SDQ; Marsh, 1993) Emotions Introspection: Self-Reflection-Rumination Questionnaire (RRQ; Trapnell & Campbell, 1999, modified by Lawlor, 2005 Introspection: Self-Reflection-Rumination Questionnaire (RRQ; Trapnell & Campbell, 1999, modified by Lawlor, 2005 ) Affect Scale (PANAS; Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) Affect Scale (PANAS; Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) Prosocial Behaviours Prosocial & Social Responsibility Goals Scale (Wentzel, 1994) Prosocial & Social Responsibility Goals Scale (Wentzel, 1994) Mindful Awareness The Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS; Brown & Ryan, 2004, modified by Benn, 2004) The Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS; Brown & Ryan, 2004, modified by Benn, 2004) Teacher Ratings of Behaviours The Teachers' Rating Scale of Social Competence (Kam & Greenberg, 1999) The Teachers' Rating Scale of Social Competence (Kam & Greenberg, 1999)
Teacher Training One full day of inservice training to 12 elementary school teachers who volunteered to take part in the training. Training conducted by program developer (Nancy Fischer) Basis of selection for training: Willingness to do the program. Willingness to do the program. Another teacher in same school also volunteered. Another teacher in same school also volunteered. Intermediate grade teachers were given preference because of the focus of the research. Intermediate grade teachers were given preference because of the focus of the research. Wait-list control.
Changes in General Self-Concept from Pretest to Posttest Note: significant interaction
Changes in Self-Reflection from Pretest to Posttest (statistical trend)
Changes in Positive Affect from Pretest to Posttest (statistical trend)
Changes in Optimism from Pretest to Posttest (statistical trend)
Changes in Prosocial Goals from Pretest to Post test
Changes in Mindful Awareness from Pretest to Posttest Note: significant interaction
Teacher Reported Improvements in Behaviours at Posttest A = Aggressive behaviours B = Oppositional/dysregulated behaviours C = Attention & concentration D = Social & emotional competence
Future Directions ME Program Extending to both public and independent schools in Vancouver and surrounding school districts. Extending to both public and independent schools in Vancouver and surrounding school districts. Development of primary, intermediate, and middle school curriculum. Development of primary, intermediate, and middle school curriculum. ME Research Further evaluations of program outcomes and implementation fidelity. Further evaluations of program outcomes and implementation fidelity. Examine program impact on stress reactivity (cortisol). Examine program impact on stress reactivity (cortisol).
Fall 2006 Research Plan Investigating the effectiveness of the ME program on students’ psychological well-being, and physiology (stress hormone - diurnal cortisol patterns) and academic success. RCT pre and posttest design Approximately 60 children from 2 intermediate elementary school classrooms (one program; one control) Approximately 60 children from 2 intermediate elementary school classrooms (one program; one control) Funding from the Mind and Life Institute ($10,000)
Relevant Websites Bright Light Foundation www.brightlightfoundation.net www.brightlightfoundation.net www.brightlightfoundation.net Positive Psychology http://www.positivepsychology.org/ http://www.positivepsychology.org/ http://www.positivepsychology.org/ Mind and Life Institute www.mindandlife.org www.mindandlife.org www.mindandlife.org Open Circle (Stone Center) http://www.open-circle.org/landing.asp http://www.open-circle.org/landing.asp
New Books on Positive Psychology Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting FulfillmentAuthentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment, by Martin E.P. Seligman Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification, by Christopher Peterson and Martin E.P. Seligman (Editors) Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived, Edited by Corey L.M. Keyes and Jonathan Haidt Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950, by Charles Murray Optimal Human Being: An Integrated Multi-Level Perspective, by Kennon M. Sheldon The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, by Barry Schwartz Positive Psychology in Practice, Edited by P. Alex Linley and Stephen Joseph The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse, by Gregg Easterbrook A Psychology of Human Strengths, Edited by Lisa G. Aspinwall and Ursula M. Staudinger Pursuing Human Strengths: A Positive Psychology Guide, by Martin Bolt The Resilience Factor: 7 Essential..., by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatté Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and ClassificationFlourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-LivedGood Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of MeaningHuman Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950Optimal Human Being: An Integrated Multi-Level PerspectiveThe Paradox of Choice: Why More Is LessPositive Psychology in PracticeThe Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel WorseA Psychology of Human StrengthsPursuing Human Strengths: A Positive Psychology GuideThe Resilience Factor: 7 Essential... Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting FulfillmentCharacter Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and ClassificationFlourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-LivedGood Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of MeaningHuman Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950Optimal Human Being: An Integrated Multi-Level PerspectiveThe Paradox of Choice: Why More Is LessPositive Psychology in PracticeThe Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel WorseA Psychology of Human StrengthsPursuing Human Strengths: A Positive Psychology GuideThe Resilience Factor: 7 Essential...