Putting your mind at ease: findings from the Mindfulness Ambassador Council programme in Toronto area schools

Tracy Smith-Carrier (of Social Work, King’s University College at Western University, London, Canada)
Theo Koffler (Mindfulness Without Borders, San Francisco, California, USA)
Faye Mishna (Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Anna Wallwork (Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Joanne Daciuk (Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Jasmin Zeger (Mindfulness Without Borders, San Francisco, California, USA)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Publication date: 21 December 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to gain understanding of the benefits and limitations of mindfulness training among secondary school students and teachers in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a case study methodology, the authors analysed programme evaluation forms and conducted thematic analyses of focus groups with Catholic secondary school teachers and students that participated in the Mindfulness Ambassador Council programme.

Findings

The findings suggest that mindfulness training may provide participants with opportunities for personal growth, specifically in the areas of stress reduction, relaxation, social awareness, self-discovery and relationship building.

Research limitations/implications

This study confirms existing literature that training in mindfulness practice may be beneficial in strengthening relationships, reducing stress and anxiety and promoting inner well-being and social-emotional learning in youth. To test these findings empirically, future research should examine mindfulness training in schools using a robust randomised controlled trial design.

Practical implications

Given the current state of research on mindfulness-based interventions specifically with the adolescent population, the study provides useful and timely data on participants ' experiences with mindfulness training, and discusses how such training can be effectively harnessed within secondary school settings.

Originality/value

There is growing evidence that the regular practice of mindfulness has myriad psychological, therapeutic and health benefits, and contributes to heightened emotional intelligence and improved performance in a host of activities. Relatively little is known, however, about the effects of mindfulness interventions on child and adolescent populations. The study contributes to the emerging evidence on mindfulness practice with students in school settings.

Keywords

Citation

Smith-Carrier, T., Koffler, T., Mishna, F., Wallwork, A., Daciuk, J. and Zeger, J. (2015), "Putting your mind at ease: findings from the Mindfulness Ambassador Council programme in Toronto area schools", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 376-392. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCS-10-2014-0046

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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