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Pre-Service Teachers Project

Image by XiXinXing via iStockPhoto


Teachers experience increasingly high levels of burnout and stress, which negatively affect students’ well-being and learning outcomes. Nearly one third of new teachers leave the profession in the first three years due to excess stress. Our study trains undergraduate students who are preparing to be teachers in well-being practices and then follows them to see if they have improved resiliency and effectiveness once they are licensed educators. This work could identify ways to nurture longer-term well-being in young teachers. 

Study Details

Teachers experience high levels of stress and burnout, which negatively affect their as well as students’ well-being and student learning outcomes. This randomized controlled trial enrolled 98 undergraduate preservice teachers and assigned them to either a 9-week mindfulness and connection practice intervention or to a teacher education as usual control condition. We observed significant intervention group improvement on our main outcomes - objective observer ratings of actual classroom teaching behaviors, at the 6-month follow-up just before participants graduated from college. We also observed significant intervention group reductions in automatic or implicit race bias towards children immediately after the intervention and at the 6-month follow-up (manuscript under review). Teacher levels of race bias are associated with a number of inequitable behaviors and perceptions in the classroom. In fall 2020, 3-year follow-up data will be complete. The follow-up data will allow us to test whether assignment to the intervention predicted greater persistence in teaching and higher levels of adaptation, in the form of less stress and great well-being. This work could identify ways to nurture longer-term well-being in young teachers.

People Working on This Study

Richard J. Davidson
Founder, Center for Healthy Minds & Healthy Minds Innovations, William James & Vilas Professor of Psychology & Psychiatry
Lisa Flook
Lisa Flook
Former Associate Scientist, Center for Healthy Minds
Lori Gustafson
Former Senior Outreach Specialist, Center for Healthy Minds
Matthew Hirshberg
Matt Hirshberg
Research Assistant Professor, Center for Healthy Minds
Lisa Thomas Prince
Former Outreach Specialist, Center for Healthy Minds
Jane Sachs
Jane Sachs
Former Research Program Manager, Center for Healthy Minds
Claire Rosenberger
Claire Rosenberger
Former Associate Research Specialist, Center for Healthy Minds

Media Related to this Project

Mindfulness for Preservice Teacher Education
Apr 05, 2020
Postdoctoral Research Associate Matt Hirshberg talks about how mindfulness can help preservice teachers improve classroom skills.

Related Publications

Hirshberg, M. J., Flook, L., Enright, R. D., & Davidson, R. J. (2020). Integrating mindfulness and connection practices into preservice teacher education improves classroom practices. Learning and Instruction66, 101298. doi:/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2019.101298
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