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Kee, Ying Hwa
Teaching is a rewarding but stressful profession. The job-related stressors which included high workloads and long working hours had subjected many educators to risks of burnout, job frustration and job attrition, and could dilute any well-meaning education initiatives. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, educators’ mental wellbeing had worsened, with more than doubling of educators seeking counselling help. Given the issues of educator stress, it is necessary to consider interventions that could support their stress-coping, resilience, and wellbeing. The adoption of Mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) for educators as a potential professional development had been growing due to its evidenced benefits on a host of wellbeing outcomes. However, its growth is not without resistance at the personal and social levels. This perception could be due to the lack of understanding of the curriculum intentions and teaching practice amidst the lack of in-depth qualitative studies.
The aim of this qualitative study using the narrative inquiry approach was to investigate the nuances of the implementation of a brief, online mindfulness intervention through the lived experiences of a small group of four educators who participated in the intervention designed to support educators’ stress-coping and wellbeing. In addition, the study supported the understanding of the underlying wellbeing processes implied “within” and “outside” the virtual classroom contexts as participants engage in mindfulness practices. Further, the study also illuminated the reflective practice of the mindfulness teacher through the experiences of designing and delivering the intervention. Using semi-structured interviews, self-reported quantitative surveys, and teacher’s journals and memos, the current study provided an in-depth understanding of the patterns revealed by narratives at both individual and collective levels from the participants and the teacher.
Using a thematic analysis approach, the findings generated patterns of meanings across six themes: (i) format of training influenced learning and engagement; (ii) experiential practices supported right understanding and integration of mindfulness; (iii) implied learning was supported by experiential inquiry-based learning process, (iv) multitude of underlying mechanisms interacted to support wellbeing; (v) applying mindfulness at the boundaries of educators’ professional practice; (vi) supporting educators’ access to mindfulness.The overall results indicated that a brief, online mindfulness intervention showed promise in supporting educators’ wellbeing through supporting their course engagement, overcoming skepticism towards mindfulness, and exploration of personal mindfulness practice. Through the engagement of the mindfulness practices, it cultivated their awareness, reperceiving, healthy stress-coping, emotion regulation, self-compassion, and relatedness with others including colleagues and students. The results extended to the relevance of mindfulness at the professional level and highlighted the barriers of implementation at both the personal and institution levels. Overall, this study contributed to the consideration of MBPs as a PD for educators at the policy level, reflective practice of the mindfulness teacher, and existing mindfulness research which considered wellbeing at the broader level. Limitations of the present study and researcher’s reflexivity were highlighted and discussed. More research involving larger sample size and longer-term trials is needed to evaluate alternative formats of training for educators.
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checked on Nov 24, 2022
checked on Nov 24, 2022
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