Weekly Digest #97: Benefits and Pitfalls of Mindfulness Interventions in Schools

Weekly Digest #97: Benefits and Pitfalls of Mindfulness Interventions in Schools

In today’s digest, we want to give a quick overview of different positions on mindfulness training in schools. Mindfulness is the experience of being present in the moment; an enhanced awareness of oneself. It can be achieved through different mediation exercises, such as classical meditation training to concentrate on one’s breathing or yoga. In recent years, different mindfulness interventions have been developed for schools and teachers have been trained on running these in their classrooms. Mindfulness is thought to increase well-being in pupils, which can then have a positive effect on their learning. However, criticism of implementing mindfulness interventions mindlessly has been raised. In today’s digest, we want to take a look at the potential benefits and pitfalls of mindfulness trainings.


1) Mindfulness in Schools Is Giving Children the Vital Tools to Protect Their Mental Wellbeing by Poorna Bell

This article described how mindfulness interventions made it into schools and how these interventions can help support mental health in young pupils. However, the article also points out that “experts are also keen to stress that it isn’t a panacea and it may not work with every child”.


2) Mindfulness To Help Children's Mental Well-Being In Schools by Hannah Gelbart

This is a short video that captures the views of young children regarding mindfulness. They are asked what being mindful means to them and how the exercises help them. It is added here because it gives a fuller picture on the topic of mindfulness than just looking at it from the teacher or researcher perspective.

Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay

3) Mindfulness In High School by Mary Davenport

This post is a report of a teacher who has introduced mindfulness exercises in her classroom. It gives a wonderful overview of the positive consequences, but also points out challenges that come with it. From a practical point of view, the biggest challenge seems to be that some pupils do not feel comfortable doing the mindfulness exercises.


4) Being Mindful About Mindfulness by Elissa Strauss

This is a must-read for the skeptical parent. Mindfulness can come with a bad taste of false spiritualism of profit-making companies (companies who sell mindfulness training) and some may not be comfortable with this. In this post, the author highlights these aspects and comes to a personal conclusion in the end.

Image from linked source

Image from linked source


5) Schools Should Be Wary Of Teaching Mindfulness To Children, Professor Says by Camilla Turner

The key point of this article is that the research basis on the effectiveness of mindfulness training is quite mixed. Positive effects have been found, but often there were no real benefits that would justify a large-scale implementation. This is something to keep in mind before spending lots of precious time and money on it.

Every Sunday, we pick a theme and provide a curated list of links. If you have a theme suggestion, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Occasionally we publish a guest digest, and If you'd like to propose a guest digest click here. Our 5 most recent digests can be found here:

Weekly Digest #92: Returning to School and Work after Break

Weekly Digest #93: Exercise and Learning 2.0

Weekly Digest #94: Resources for Language Learners

Weekly Digest #95: Megacognition

Weekly Digest #96: Why Teachers Blog