Maximizing Mindful Learning: An Innovative Mindful Awareness Intervention Improves Elementary School Students’ Quarterly Grades

03 April 2016
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By Laura S. Bakosh, Renee M. Snow, Jutta M. Tobias, Janice L. Houlihan, Celestina Barbosa-Leiker


This paper discusses results from the first empirical study testing the feasibility and effectiveness of an audio-guided mindful awareness training program on quarterly grade performance in traditional United States public elementary schools. Structured as a quasi-experiment, the study demonstrates that a 10-minute-per-day, fully automated program significantly enhances students’ quarterly grades in reading and science, compared to a control group, without disrupting teaching operations (N=191). The intervention utilized a series of guided mindful-based awareness and attention focusing practices as the method for students to engage with social and emotional learning (SEL) concepts, and can thus be called a “mindful-based social emotional learning” (MBSEL)  program. The program is innovative because it requires neither expert trainers skilled in mindfulness nor changes to existing curriculum; thus it can be considered both teacher-independent and curriculum supportive. The goal of this exploratory study was to facilitate a consistent daily mindful awareness practice that generates improvements in student outcomes for resource- and time-constrained K-12 classrooms in the United States and elsewhere. The authors discuss limitations of this study and suggestions for further research on how to use mindful awareness programs to enhance academic performance both effectively and pragmatically.


Bakosh, L. S., Snow, R. M., Tobias Mortlock, J. M., Houlihan, J. L. & Barbosa-Leiker, C. (2016). Maximizing Mindful Learning: Mindful Awareness Intervention Improves Elementary School Students’ Quarterly Grades. Mindfulness, 7(1), doi: 10.1007/s12671-015-0387-6

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