The impact of classroom-based meditation practice on cognitive engagement, mindfulness and academic performance of undergraduate college students
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This study explored the potential of classroom-based meditation practice as a tool to facilitate learning. Moreover, the impact of meditation on cognitive engagement, mindfulness and academic performance of undergraduate college students was investigated. Additionally, the relationships between mindfulness and cognitive engagement, and between these variables and students' academic performance were explored. Mindfulness was also examined for its potential as an indicator of engagement and meditation as a potential facilitator of engagement. A quasi-experimental nonequivalent control group design was employed with a sample of 189 undergraduate students at a public Research I institution in the Northeast, enrolled in classes in the Department of Learning and Instruction. All participants completed a survey instrument comprised of two self-report measures: the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire and a Cognitive Engagement Scale administered at the beginning and end of the Fall 2012 semester. GPA was utilized as a measure of academic performance. Experimental group participants participated in a 6-minute meditation at the beginning of class throughout the 15-week semester. Many significant relationships were found between mindfulness, cognitive engagement and academic performance. Specifically, mindfulness and cognitive engagement were related at both the scale and subscale levels, and GPA was related to two facets of mindfulness, acting with awareness and nonreactivity, and one facet of cognitive engagement, self-regulation. Furthermore, nonreactivity was the best predictor of academic performance in this student sample. Moreover, mindfulness was a better predictor of academic performance than was cognitive engagement. The results suggest that mindfulness may be important in the process of learning. Implications focus on student engagement theory, pedagogy, institutional policy and practices. Evidence provided from this research supports the use of methods that cultivate mindfulness as valid pedagogical tools, further substantiating the educational efficacy of classroom-based meditation practice.
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