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Mindfulness Based Interventions and the Future of Education

Mindfulness Based Interventions and the Future of Education

by Cyrus Shaoul, Ph.D.
Senior Academic Researcher

If there is one idea in psychology and education that continues to dominate the conversation among researchers in 2016, it is the relationship between mindfulness practices and learning. Many educators and researchers are intrigued by the promise of Mindfulness Based Interventions (MBIs), but they would like to see more evidence that these interventions are effective in improving learning.

Before we get into the research, I’d like to define MBIs. There are many definitions of what constitutes a mindfulness based intervention, but one of the simplest is given by Tang et al. (2015). They define an MBI as "a form of mental training that aims to improve an individual’s core psychological capacities, such as attentional and emotional self-regulation." (p. 1) and as "non-judgmental attention to experience in the present moment" (p. 2). There are many kinds of practice contained within the scope of MBIs, but the two most commonly used by researchers are Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR, Kabat-Zinn, 2003) and Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT, Tang et al, 2007). These MBIs are usually administered by experienced meditators, and the protocols are clearly defined to make the interventions reproducible across laboratories.

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