Date of Award

8-2016

Document Type

Action Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education

Department

Education, Montessori

First Advisor

Sandra Wyner Andrew

Department/School

Montessori Elementary Education, Elementary Education

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to test whether the implementation of mindfulness exercises would increase focus and work engagement of students. This study incorporated breathing and visualization exercises three times a week. The 5-week study involved 44 children between the ages of 9 and 12 years in a private Montessori school in Northern Michigan. Data collection included daily tallies of on and off task behavior, daily observations of work engagement, pre and post questionnaires about mindfulness completed by each child, and oneon- one discussions with each participant. Results showed an increase in the number of students on task and more students engaged in work over time. The pre and post questionnaire showed an increase in the number of students who liked mindfulness exercises and thought they were helpful, but expressed mixed opinions related to statements regarding focus and distraction. Eighty-two percent of students responded that they found mindfulness exercises helpful. Thirtysix percent mentioned the words “focus” or “concentrate” in their descriptions of how the mindfulness exercises were helpful. Eighty percent responded that they would use the mindfulness techniques independently. The data showed a positive correlation between the implementation of mindfulness exercises and focus in children ages 9 to 12. Suggestions for further research include increasing conversations about ways students can practice mindfulness exercises independently and an extended research period.