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Mindfulness in the classroom: research project summary.

Buchanan, Neil; Harrison, Isabelle; Crawford, Izzy


Neil Buchanan

Isabelle Harrison


According to Henning et al. (2018) universities in the United Kingdom are experiencing unpresented rises in incidences of reported anxiety and stress in student populations. It is likely that this has been compounded by the current pandemic. Mindfulness courses, such as MBSR, represent one strategy and in themselves require substantial expertise and time for delivery (Broggi et al. 2018). Less well known however is ‘mindfulness as a pedagogical strategy’ for use in classroom teaching. Classroom mindfulness directly targets the development of present moment attention in student onsite face-to-face learning contexts (McIntyre 2018). Such situated mindfulness pedagogy gave rise to a two-part study with first year Health Science and Creative and Cultural Business students at RGU in 2018/2019. The aim was to employ short lecturer led mindfulness strategies for the development of present moment attention in order to establish impact on student wellbeing and resilience. The initial research sought student perceptions around the efficacy and delivery of classroom mindfulness in theory. Student focus group data informed the design and delivery of part 2, a semester long mindfulness intervention. Results indicated a flexible intervention with different strategies, delivered at multiple time points and durations in class. For the intervention, lecturers delivered one to three strategies between 30-seconds and 3-minutes in classes. Part 1 of this research aim was to assess mindfulness, resilience, wellbeing and student perceptions of mindfulness within the higher education classroom. It involved a questionnaire assessment of stage 1 and 2 student mindfulness, resilience and wellbeing, and used focus groups to inductively explore student perceptions of mindfulness in the classroom at Robert Gordon University, in semester 1, 2018. Part 2 research aim involved the design and implementation of a mindfulness intervention across stage 1 courses in the School of Health Sciences and School of Creative and Cultural Business in semester 2, 2019. This presentation will summarise the key findings from the evaluation which took place after the intervention. Staff and students noted that when it comes to mindfulness, one size does not fit all, and that there is no one approach that will work for everyone. Students also suggested that technology could be used to support students to use mindfulness, for example adopting an app that students can use at home or adding new features to Moodle. The need to consider individual preferences was also highlighted by medical students engaging in a mindfulness group with Aherne et al., 2016.


BUCHANAN, N., HARRISON, I. and CRAWFORD, I. 2020. Mindfulness in the classroom: research project summary. Presented at 2020 (Robert Gordon University) RGU's annual Learning and teaching conference (LTC 2020): RGU professionals 4.0, 28 April 2020, [virtual conference].

Presentation Conference Type Lecture
Conference Name 2020 RGU annual learning and teaching conference (RGU LTC 2020): RGU professionals 4.0
Conference Location [virtual conference]
Start Date Apr 28, 2020
Deposit Date Aug 3, 2021
Publicly Available Date Aug 3, 2021
Keywords Mindfulness; Anxiety; Stress; Student populations; Wellbeing
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