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Dissertation

In Support of Human Flourishing: An Exploration of Mindfulness & Well-Being Among Pre-Service Teachers

30 May 2020

Abstract

Teaching is a high stress profession that often results in burnout and attrition. In the United States 8% of all teachers leave the profession annually contributing to the current teacher shortage (Podolsky et al., 2016, Darling-Hammond et al., 2017). When we combine these statistics with those reflecting the increasing mental health challenges in this country, we find ourselves facing a crisis in both education and health care. The issues of teacher stress, burnout and attrition combined with the mental health challenges of both students and teachers, calls for new and proactive approaches to addressing these challenges. Recent research around mindfulness suggests that these techniques can be used to support well-being and mental health. This dissertation explored the connection between mindfulness and well-being among pre-service teachers. The goal of this study was to gain deeper insight into the needs of pre-service teachers in order to support their own well-being and that of their future students. This research explored the overarching question, What can be learned about mindfulness and well-begin among pre-service teachers? using a mixed methods design comprised of three studies. The first study used the Five Facets of Mindfulness Questionnaire (Baer, et al., 2006) and the PROMIS measures (NIH, 2014) to determine the relationship between self-reported levels of trait mindfulness and well-being. The second study used focus group interviews to explore pre-service teachers experiences with and perceptions of mindfulness and well-being. The third study examined students’ experiences with mindfulness practices embedded in their teacher training courses through a text analysis of archival student journals. Findings suggest a potential relationship between the mindfulness trait of non-reactivity and higher levels of well-being. They also indicate that pre-service teachers found mindfulness training beneficial and have a strong desire to learn more about ways to support their mental health and improve their well-being. Future directions of this work could include experimental designs with increased quantitative sampling, and multiple focus groups across settings

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mazurkiewiczc_phd_coe_2020.pdf
31 May 2020
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