MINDFULNESS IN THE SPECIAL EDUCATION CLASSROOM: A MIXED METHODS PILOT STUDY OF THE LEARNING TO BREATHE MINDFULNESS CURRICULUM
Burckhardt, Candace B.
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Self-efficacy impacts the thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes students have towards activities such as reading or completing difficult homework. Using the social cognitive theory as a framework for understanding self-efficacy and self-regulation, a literature review of research on self-efficacy and self-regulation for secondary students with disabilities was conducted. Based on findings from the literature review, needs assessment data was collected from ninth grade students with conduct problems to examine the relationship between their behavior and their perceived self-efficacy and self-regulation. A mindfulness curriculum called Learning to Breathe (Broderick, 2013) was researched and implemented as a pilot intervention in two secondary special education classrooms (n = 16) in order to determine if mindfulness influences self-regulation skills and self-efficacy in students with disabilities who need behavior support. Although there were not any statistically significant findings from three self-report measures related to self-efficacy, self-regulation, and mindfulness, all students reported positive outcomes related to managing stress and anxiety, greater focus and attention, better conflict management, and increased self-compassion. In addition, all students reported that they will continue to use mindfulness and that the program should be expanded. The results of this study indicate that implementing mindfulness programs within special education settings is both feasible and positively accepted by students. Future research is needed to create tools for more accurately assessing mindfulness outcomes in adolescents with mild disabilities and to equip teachers with evidenced-based practices for classroom implementation.