• Evaluation of a compassionate mind training intervention with school teachers and support staff

      Maratos, Frances; Montague, Jane; Ashra, Hajra; Welford, Mary; Wood, Wendy; Barnes, Christopher; Sheffield, David; Gilbert, Paul; University of Derby (Springer Nature, 2019-06-29)
      Teacher retention is a key issue facing schools, with stress, student behavior, current competitive policies and practices resulting in many leaving within the first five years of qualification. Consequently, recent in-school research initiatives have focused on resilience training, although the quality of such conducted studies is debated. Drawn from Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), this study set out to explore a six module Compassionate Mind Training (CMT) programme with school staff to improve well-being. As part of their continued professional development, over 70 teachers and support staff took part in the CMT, with a mixed-measures AAB quantitative and qualitative design employed. This enabled us to explore both implementation effectiveness and outcome effectiveness in terms of parameters of well-being. The initiative was well-received with the majority of staff reporting positively on their experiences of the curriculum and practices. Additionally, exercise practice was associated with significant increases in self compassion (p<0.01) and significant decreases in self-criticism (p<0.05). Thematic analyses further revealed benefits of CMT for dealing with emotional difficulties. As a feasibility study, our results demonstrate many benefits of CMT in educational settings. CMT may hold promise as a way of helping those in education counteract the current competition-based nature of education, especially that which contributes to negative changes in well-being. Given this, future research should employ a control group design, a larger sample size and a range of wellbeing measures at follow-up, to fully evaluate the utility of CMT in educational settings.