Improving Teacher Awareness and Well-Being Through CARE: a Qualitative Analysis of the Underlying Mechanisms

Deborah L. Schussler, Patricia A. Jennings, Jennifer E. Sharp, Jennifer L. Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


The heavy demands of teaching result in many teachers becoming alienated or burning out. Therefore, it is imperative to identify ways to support teachers’ internal capacities for managing stress and promoting well-being. Mindfulness is an approach with a growing foundation of empirical support in clinical as well as education settings. Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) is a mindfulness-based professional development program developed to improve teachers’ awareness and well-being and to enhance classroom learning environments. Using an explanatory design, we analyzed data from four focus groups each with three to eight teachers who participated in CARE to explore the mechanisms underlying the intervention effects. Specifically, we examined if/how the CARE intervention affected teachers’ awareness and analyzed why CARE affected particular aspects of teachers’ physical and emotional health and why some aspects were not affected. Results suggest that participants developed greater self-awareness, including somatic awareness and the need to practice self-care. Participants also improved their ability to become less emotionally reactive. However, participants were less likely to explicitly articulate an improvement in their teaching efficacy. Implications for professional development are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-142
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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