Exploring the role of mindfulness in supporting teachers in a South African school

Colarossi, Claudia Rita (2018-12)

Thesis (MEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : The practice of mindfulness is proliferating internationally as a tool for professionals to become more effective at managing stress and to optimise their performance. In South African school settings in particular, the utility of mindfulness is an under-researched topic. This research aimed to begin to fill that gap by exploring the effects of a Mindfulness-based Intervention on a group of teachers. It used an exploratory mixed-methods study with a sample of eleven teachers that participated in a mindfulness programme over a nine week period. A pre-test and post-test questionnaire as well as a focus group collected quantitative and qualitative data from the participants before and after the programme was carried out to determine whether the intervention had a statistically significant effect on the teachers’ levels of mindfulness and compassion toward students; as well as to develop a deeper understanding from the teachers of the process of acquiring mindfulness skills. The levels of compassion towards students remained fairly consistent, with no significant changes reported. However, significant results were realised in three facets of mindfulness, namely Observe (F(1,10)=18.81, p=0.00), Nonreact (F(1,10)=9.05, p=0.01), and Act with Awareness (F(1,10)=5.13, p=0.05). These data suggest that the mindfulness intervention contributed to the increase in mindfulness within these facets. Furthermore, the Full Scale (F(1,10)=13.31, p=0.004) suggests that there was an overall significant increase in mindfulness. A post-intervention focus group discussion yielded vital insight into how the mindfulness skills provided this group of teachers with a form of support that they could draw on in their teaching practice. Based on this study’s findings, it may be beneficial for schools to consider utilizing the services of a trained mindfulness facilitator to explore possible benefits that it may have in supporting teachers in their professional capacity. Additional studies of this nature, including a variety of different schools based in South Africa, would make the research findings more generalisable in the South African context, strengthening research outcomes.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Daar is ‘n internasionale toename in die praktyk van bewustheid as 'n hulpmiddel vir professionele persone om stres meer effektief te bestuur en hul prestasie te optimaliseer. In veral Suid-Afrikaanse skoolinstellings is die nut van bewustheid 'n onder-nagevorste onderwerp. Hierdie navorsing was daarop gemik om die gaping te vul deur ‘n eksplorering van die effek van ‘n Bewustheidsgebaseerde Intervensie met ‘n groep onderwysers. Die studie het (Bothma, 1997) (Baer, et al., 2008) (Luck, Jackson, & Usher, 2006) van ‘n verkennende gemengde-metodes navorsingsontwerp gebruik gemaak. 'n Steekproef van elf onderwysers het oor 'n tydperk van nege weke aan 'n bewustheidsprogram deelgeneem. 'n Voor-toets- en na-toetsvraelys, asook 'n fokusgroep, het kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe data van die deelnemers ingesamel voor en na die program uitgevoer is, om vas te stel of die intervensie 'n statisties beduidende uitwerking op die onderwysers se vlakke van bewustheid en medelye na studente gehad het; sowel as om 'n dieper begrip te ontwikkel van die proses van die verwerwing van bewustheidsvaardighede in die onderwysers. Die vlakke van medelye teenoor studente het redelik konsekwent gebly, met geen beduidende veranderinge gerapporteer nie. Daar is egter beduidende resultate behaal in drie fasette van bewustheid, naamlik Observe (F (1,10) = 18,81, p = 0,00), Nonreact (F (1,10) = 9,05, p = 0,01) en Act with Awareness (F (1,10) = 5,13, p = 0,05). Hierdie data dui daarop dat die bewustheid intervensie bygedra het tot die toename in bewustheid binne hierdie fasette. Verder dui die volle skaal (F (1,10) = 13.31, p = 0.004) aan dat daar 'n algehele beduidende toename in bewustheid was. 'n Na-intervensie fokusgroepbespreking het 'n belangrike insig gegee in hoe die bewustheidsvaardighede hierdie groep onderwysers 'n vorm van ondersteuning bied wat hulle in hul onderwyspraktyk kan vestig. Op grond van hierdie studie se bevindinge, kan dit voordelig wees vir skole om te oorweeg om die dienste van 'n opgeleide bewustheid-fasiliteerder te gebruik om moontlike voordele te ondersoek wat dit mag hê om opvoeders in hul professionele hoedanigheid te ondersteun. Bykomende studies van hierdie aard, insluitend van 'n verskeidenheid verskillende skole wat in Suid-Afrika gebaseer is, sal die navorsingsbevindings meer algemeen maak in die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks, en daarmee die navorsingsuitkomste bevorder.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/104875
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