Tuesday 26 September 2017

Badly taught mindfulness classes 'may harm pupils'

Many teachers feel ill-equipped to teach wellbeing programmes to students, without adequate training. Stock Image
Many teachers feel ill-equipped to teach wellbeing programmes to students, without adequate training. Stock Image
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Mindfulness teaching in schools could be damaging to children if taught incorrectly, an Oireachtas report warns.

The advice to Education Minister Richard Bruton was among a number of recommendations in the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education report into positive mental health in schools.

It said many teachers feel ill-equipped to teach wellbeing programmes to students, without adequate training.

"At the other end of the continuum is the well-intentioned, but potentially harmful development in, for example, the adoption of mindfulness-based programmes in schools which are sometimes offered by teachers who are not sufficiently trained or grounded in the ethical principles or the attitudinal basis required to teach mindfulness," it said.

The report said schools were understandably attracted to the potential and promise of mindfulness interventions in education.

But it said they might misrepresent the potential benefits - "for example, naively stating out of context that it will induce tranquillity and calm for students, or worse still, will lead to better academic results for students," the report said.

Irish Independent

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