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Research indicates that academic performance and social and emotional well-being are fundamentally interrelated (Schonert-Reichl, Oberle, Lawlor, Abbott, Thomson, Oberlander, & Diamond, 2015). Given that 13-20% of children in the United States experience social and emotional challenges, schools are required to attend to the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students (Maynard, Solis, Miller, & Brendel, 2017). However, students are often unequipped with the skills to effectively cope with stress and resort to behaviors that cause emotional, mental, and physical suffering, all of which thwart the learning process (Schonert-Reichl et al., 2015). Schools warrant interventions that support the whole student, given the increase in mental health statistics (Meiklejohn, Phillips, Freedman, Griffin, Biegel, Roach, Frank, Burke, Pinger, Soloway, Isberg, Sibinga, Grossman, & Saltzman, 2012).

Given that the stakes for student success and well-being are high, many schools have integrated mindfulness practices within classrooms. This study sought to understand the efficacy of mindfulness programs in the K-12 education setting, specifically educators’ perceptions of mindfulness on students’ academic skills, behavior, and well-being. This qualitative study involved semi-structured interviews with ten participants from schools in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The findings indicate that mindfulness is successful when applied both indirectly and directly, is adaptable within class structures and transitional periods, is practiced using a variety of techniques, and supports a diverse student climate. However, while there is little to no data to support the effects of mindfulness on academics, this study does suggest that mindfulness can be an effective means of supporting students’ behavior and well-being. Further research measuring the effects of mindfulness on academic skills is needed.


Social Work

Thesis Comittee

Dr. Denise Howley, Thesis Advisor

Dr. Kathy Bailey, Committee Member

Dr. Pam Szczygiel, Committee Member

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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