Minh Tam Luong and Sarah Gouda | 17.05.2017

What can mindfulness offer modern schools? A mixed-methods study on the effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention in school settings

Public talk | 17.05.2017 | 16:00 - 17:30 | Uni Freiburg | Tennenbacher Str. 4, 79106 Freiburg, Germany | Herderbau, Room 400


About: Minh Tam Luong and Sarah Gouda are psychologists and researchers at the University Medical Center in Freiburg who are keenly interested in the benefits and applications of mindfulness meditation, a meditation tradition that has its origins in Buddhist philosophy and practice. As part of their PhD studies, they have been involved with a project that delivered a secular mindfulness-based intervention to students and teachers at three individual schools throughout the past four years. The project was part of the larger Collaborative Research Center 1015 ‘Otium/Leisure: Concepts, Spaces, Figures’, which is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).


Talk: The long forgotten etymology of the word “school” can be traced back to the ancient Greek “scholé”, which refers to a state wherein one is liberated from all pressures and free to pursue self-determined, fulfilling interests and activities. This inspiring origin notwithstanding, modern schools are often a major stress source for students and teachers alike. Amidst pressure to perform and an ever mounting emphasis on achievement and efficiency, the present project introduced a school embedded Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course spanning eight weeks, as a way to decelerate, de-stress and enrich the daily lives of teachers and students. In a mixed-method, controlled waitlist approach, the effects and processes induced by this intervention among 73 students (grade 11) and 90 teachers were explored and critically evaluated. Aside from promising benefits in areas of mental health and social-emotional competencies, findings include central implications for the limits of embedded mindfulness-based interventions and implementational considerations. In this talk, we will present the rationale, components and impact of the project and share our findings and conclusions about the potential benefits that both individuals as well as the larger educational context may derive from a more mindful attitude and climate. We hope to interactively debate implications of the presented results, including possible consequences for a more conscious, environmentally sustainable attitude.