Mindfulness in PK-12 Classrooms as a Means to Promote Emotion Regulation

Mindfulness in PK-12 Classrooms as a Means to Promote Emotion Regulation

Kimberly Vigil
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-2478-0.ch002
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It is likely safe to assume that nearly all students are coming to, and engaging in, school settings with multiple stressors and personal challenges. Moreover, the global pandemic has likely exacerbated these mental health issues. As such, the general problem is that many students are not adequately prepared to handle stress and emotional challenges in conjunction with everyday life and in school. This has the potential to derail both their personal well-being and their academic success. Mindfulness is a viable resource in PK-12 school systems to guide the acquisition and development of emotion regulation. This chapter describes the conceptual underpinnings that make up mindfulness. More specifically, the purpose of this chapter is to delineate how mindfulness in PK-12 classrooms may be used to promote students' emotion regulation, and to provide clear and specific examples and strategies of mindfulness practices that facilitate the development of empathy and sound emotion regulation.
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Although mindfulness has experienced a relatively recent upsurge in popularity, it has quite a lengthy history. Interestingly, constructs or conceptualizations associated with mindfulness span as far back as the past 2000 years (Urrila, 2021). In 1990, though, it was noted that there were only 80 mindfulness related publications available, whereas in 2006, more than 600 were published (Brown et al., 2007). Today, it is a commonplace topic of research, and many people undertake mindfulness practices. Moreover, research shows self-regulation, or the ability to regulate both attention and emotion (Powietrzyńska & Ganji, 2016), stems from mindfulness practices (Broderick et al., 2019; Goodman et al., 2021; Kemper, 2017; Urrila, 2021). Thus, it can be argued that because mindfulness aids in the development of self-regulation, mindfulness training in PK-12 school settings should be undertaken to promotes students’ academic success and personal well-being.

In general terms, mindfulness is a state of consciousness (Brown et al., 2007), characterized by a non-judgmental awareness of the present moment (Bravo et al., 2018; Hofmann et al., 2010; Kemper, 2017; Mantzios & Giannou, 2018). While they ways in which mindfulness is practiced are plentiful, it can be summed up in saying that mindfulness training teaches participants to purposefully engage in the present moment, often with the use of an anchor (Zenner et al., 2014), with non-judgmental acknowledgement that the mind does wander, and, as that occurs, simply returning to present moment awareness (Mantzios & Giannou, 2018; Zenner et al., 2014). Ultimately, this type of training ideally leads to a state of being, or trait or dispositional mindfulness (Bravo et al., 2018; Urrila, 2021), which manifests itself in improved relationships, greater empathy, improved social skills, and more positive interactions with others (Broderick et al., 2019; Krusche et al., 2020; Powietrzyńska & Ganji, 2016; Vigil, 2021).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Autonomy: Self-directed, ownership, and choice in one’s own work/learning.

Trait or Disposition Mindfulness: A term that describes one’s characteristics or attributes of mindfulness over time.

Self-Regulation: One’s capacity to regulate levels of attention and personal emotions.

Emotion Regulation: The process by which people interpret, experience, act upon, and express emotions.

Mindfulness: A nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, including an understanding of one’s own, and others’, feelings and emotions, and positive traits of mind such as gratitude and kindness.

Self-Reflection: The practice of thinking about one’s self, in many different capacities, such as one’s own learning, one’s own emotions, one’s one needs, etc.

Connectedness Cycle: A dynamic cyclical practice of making connections, giving support, and providing meaningful feedback.

State Mindfulness: A term that describes mindfulness levels at a given point in time.

Embodiment: Embracing and modeling mindfulness practices in one’s daily life and/or work.

Attunement: Recognizing emotions and needs of others and responding appropriately.

Pedagogical Space: The act of flexibly responding to the needs of students with research-based practices. In this chapter, this term is also used for employees.

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