Mindfulness-based Critical Consciousness Training for Teachers (MBCC-T): Development, pilot test, and comparison to two control groups

Funder: Mind & Life Institute

Collaborators: Dr. Fabienne Doucet (NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development), Natalie Zwerger, Director of the Center for Strategic Solutions (NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools), and Dr. Jonathan Kaplan (Soho CBT + Mindfulness Center). 

African American, Latino, Native American, and Southeast Asian students, demonstrate significant educational underachievement and poorer behavioral outcomes compared to their White and other Asian American peers. These disparities emerge as early as preschool, and are reflected in poorer achievement test scores, and higher rates of drop-out, suspension, and expulsion from school. While acknowledging that many educational disparities reflect structural inequalities, the proposed project targets the role of teachers–their cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses to diverse students—and the potential impact they can have in reducing these disparities. Teacher education programs regularly incorporate training in culturally-responsive pedagogy; however many White teachers struggle to apply these skills due to feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, and shame that often arise in interracial contexts. We propose to conduct a randomized controlled pilot trial of Mindfulness-Based Critical Consciousness training for Teachers (MBCC-T), which applies mindfulness interventions to address the cognitive, affective, and interpersonal barriers to the creation of equitable and inclusive learning environments. K-5 teachers will be randomized to receive MBCC-T, critical consciousness training alone, or mindfulness training alone. Changes in multicultural teaching competence, implicit and explicit racial attitudes, classroom climate, mindfulness, self-compassion, and burnout will be tracked pre- and post-intervention, and 4-months later.