Safeguarding Mindfulness in Schools and Higher Education: A Holistic and Inclusive Approach, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Safeguarding Mindfulness in Schools and Higher Education

A Holistic and Inclusive Approach, 1st Edition

By Leigh Burrows


140 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2017-07-18
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Although mindfulness can be located in a number of different traditions and disciplines, it was originally an esoteric and powerful practice based on developing a capacity attainable only by certain people. After previously publishing on the positive outcomes, in this book the author identifies a range of adverse effects of mindfulness meditation for some individuals that, from the point of view of mindfulness in schools and higher education, represents uncharted territory. The author demonstrates through research, personal experience and case studies how mindfulness activities can be safe for all students in education settings including the most vulnerable.

This book assists teachers in school and higher education settings to make informed decisions about whether to include mindfulness in their teaching, depending on their own capacity, student cohorts and activities to make sure it is safe for more vulnerable students. This guidance is based on a combination of existing pedagogical and clinical knowledge about meeting the needs of vulnerable students, clients and patients and the specialized expertise of trained mindfulness clinicians and teachers.

This book puts school and university teachers in the driver’s seat as regards mindfulness teaching in education settings. It argues that the only way forward for mindfulness in education is to adopt an individualized approach which builds on what effective teachers already do in their work with vulnerable students through extending their knowledge about mindfulness and its possible effects. In this way teachers’ existing skills are celebrated and extended, and mindfulness pedagogy develops organically with teachers, becoming a genuine and felt experience both for themselves and their students rather than an ‘add-on’ intervention.


This is a sensitive, intelligent, and urgently needed book. Mindfulness exercises are being taught in schools and universities but no one, until now, has dared to confront the potential adverse effects associated with mindfulness in educational settings. There are important lessons to be learned here, particularly for mindfulness teachers and researchers.

Miguel Farias, Director of the Brain, Belief, & Behaviour Lab, Coventry University

Drawing on her extensive research in the field of mindfulness and practical experience in special education and counselling, Dr. Burrows offers an extremely readable and insightful book to assist anyone contemplating sharing mindfulness with children and young adults. The work is invitational, inspiring and something every mindfulness practitioner and researcher needs to have on their bookshelf!

Nicole J. Albrecht, PhD, Wellness Course Coordinator and Lecturer, School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

This book is essential reading for all mindfulness teachers whether in clinical, educational or community settings. Rooted in her own and others’ research, and with great insight and compassion, Dr Burrows questions widespread assumptions about the safety of mindfulness practices. Building on this, clear guidance is offered to the teacher on safeguarding the participant through assessment, informed preparation and accessible, appropriate initial practices.

Tim Duerden, Senior Lecturer, School of Health and Society, University of Salford; Director and Trainer, Integrated Mindfulness

A very useful book for all educators to read and use as a valuable resource. Such a complex topic but Leigh breaks it down in a way that makes the messages connect with the reader. We often hear about the value of building the capacity of our staff to deeply understand each student and this book strongly builds such capacity while at the same time raising the profile of inclusivity for all learners, adults included. The blend of research, theory and personal experience makes the key messages in this book authentic, genuine and also attainable for teachers and students. I highly recommend this book to all educators.

Lana Dubrowsky, Principal, East Marden Primary School

As a School Counselor and Teacher of mindfulness, I believe Safeguarding Mindfulness is an essential read for all schools looking at including mindfulness practices within their setting. Dr Burrows highlights the benefits of mindfulness approaches, whilst pointing out mindfulness may not be appropriate for all.

Kerrilee Beaumont, BA, MSW, GDTL, School Counsellor

Dr Burrows is among a small but growing group of researchers who are raising issues that are essential for the mindfulness education community to consider. If mindfulness is to fulfill its potential in schools throughout the world, it must be taught by teachers who are sensitive to the varied experiences of their students. This book provides valuable information and guidance for any teachers who use, or who are considering the use of, mindfulness activities in their classes.

Dan Huston, Professor of English and Communication, NHTI, Concord’s Community College, Adjunct Professor of Mindful Education, Lesley University

This is a seminal book raising important issues about the unexpected perceptions and experiences of mindfulness that that are not always positive. Burrows draws on her research with teachers in schools and higher education. The book is packed with information for assisting teachers to make informed decisions about whether or not to include mindfulness in their teaching.

Kathy Arthurson, Adjunct Associate Professor, Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, Flinders University

Table of Contents

List of illustrations



Chapter 1: ‘Opening Pandora’s Box of Mindfulness in Education’: the case for safeguarding

Chapter 2: ‘Turning the Lens of Mindfulness on Ourselves’: the significant role of the teacher.

Chapter 3: ‘Crossing the Threshold’: attuning ourselves to student vulnerabilities

Chapter 4: ‘Minding the Gap’: attunement to learning environment and activities

Chapter 5: ‘Mindfulness is Actually Right Under our Feet When we are Doing our Best Work’: the contribution of teacher preparation

Chapter 6: Creating Calmer Classrooms in the Primary Years

Chapter 7: Engaging with Mindfulness in the Sensitive Secondary Years



About the Author

Leigh Burrows has a wide background in primary, secondary, alternative and higher education teaching and research. She has held advisory roles in special education, well-being and students at risk and is a qualified solution-focused counsellor who is passionate about the transformative potential of a holistic and inclusive approach that is deeply informed by her 30 years of meditation practice. She has published in the areas of relational mindfulness, spirituality, well-being, teacher professional learning, autism, trauma, dyslexia, and parent-teacher relationships. She has developed the Masters in Education topic Mindfulness and the Inner World of Teaching and presents workshops on mindfulness to a wide range of professionals.

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