Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Mindfulness education in the classroom has the potential to positively influence the emotional, social, and academic well-being of youth. Given the growing area of mindfulness education in schools, it is important to examine factors that contribute to the likelihood of successful adoption in classrooms. Thus, our goal is to investigate the feasibility and fidelity of implementation in an evaluation of a newly developed mindfulness education program (Master Mind) by assessing the perspectives of teachers, students, and observers. Master Mind is a universal mindfulness education program for elementary school children and was developed to provide youth with tools to cope with stress, regulate their feelings and behaviors, and make healthy choices. A small randomized controlled trial of Master Mind was conducted with six 4th and 5th grade classrooms (N = 111 students; three classes in intervention and three in wait-list control). Master Mind is a manualized 20-lesson (4-week) theoretically-derived program taught by teachers for 15 minutes a day. Teachers and students completed behavioral and cognitive measures at pre- and post-intervention time points. Also at post-test, intervention teachers reported their ease of preparation and implementation, and students reported their satisfaction with program activities. A trained observer rated (using a 4-point Likert scale) teacher’s fidelity of implementation in the intervention classrooms. For main outcomes, hierarchical linear model analyses revealed that students who participated in the program, compared to those that did not, experienced greater improvements in executive function and reductions in aggressive behaviors and social problems. For implementation fidelity, the goal was to observe 75% of the lessons (i.e., 15 lessons) taught in each of the intervention classrooms. Observers reported that the sections of each lesson were thoroughly taught, on average, by the three intervention teachers (M = 3.99). Thus, creating a program with short, daily lessons that can be easily integrated into teaching curricula and schedules may have a positive impact on implementation fidelity. For feasibility, teachers reported that they enjoyed teaching the lessons, and found them easy to prepare and teach. Teachers suggested modifications in terms of clarifying concepts and including additional examples. Students reported that they enjoyed participating in the Master Mind program and learned new information; however, they preferred interactive activities rather than the writing or nightly homework. Students and teachers suggested adding more mindful movements. This feedback will be incorporated into the iterative development of the Master Mind program to increase likelihood of adoption, participation, and impact.