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A new research study involving more than 200 teachers from across the UK investigated how their experiences and levels of stress, mental health and burn out were impacted by either taught or self-taught mindfulness training.

Group of teenage students and female teacher in science lesson, mixing chemicals

The study, Teachers "Finding Peace in a Frantic World": An Experimental Study of Self-Taught and Instructor-Led Mindfulness Program Formats on Acceptability, Effectiveness, and Mechanisms, was published in the journal of Educational Psychology.

Liz Lord, Liaison for the MYRIAD team, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, said:

 

'Teachers do vitally important and intrinsically challenging work. We know that mindfulness training can support teachers’ wellbeing.' 

This study explores how best to make mindfulness training both accessible and helpful. It used the curriculum, “Mindfulness - Finding Peace in a Frantic World” developed by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. The course was offered in two formats: a face-to-face group facilitated by a mindfulness trainer, or as individual teachers guiding themselves through the workbook. 

Mindfulness book front cover

Both approaches were shown to be effective. Although the self-taught approach was more accessible, the face to face group had better outcomes.

Ms Lord continues,

'The findings do suggest that the more intensive trainer-led mindfulness training produced better results for teachers themselves. However, when considering the busy nature of teaching life, the self-taught mindfulness training program is likely to be more accessible for teachers.'

Willem Kuyken, Sir John Ritblat Family Foundation Professor of Mindfulness and Psychological Science, University of Oxford, adds:

 

'We have demonstrated that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is effective for preventing depression in adults. Now we’re beginning to show that it is effective in the general population – for teachers, NHS staff and University students. The next questions are about how we can make these courses as accessible as possible, and what works best for whom, and how?' 

For more information about the MYRIAD project.

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