Measurement development and validation of measures of kindness, compassion, empathy, and care—particularly for school-aged children—is lacking in the field of contemplative teaching and learning. In 2015, the Mind & Life Institute sponsored a one-time Measurement Development Initiative in response to the need for innovative, mixed-methods, pragmatic tools to measure these key human qualities in educational settings.


Measure Development Research Grant Recipient

2014 Roeser PhotoRobert Roeser, PhD
Department of Psychology
Portland State University/Pennsylvania State University
Measuring teacher care in elementary and middle school classrooms: Positivity, presence and patience
The goal of this project is to capitalize on two on-going school intervention studies: The Mindfulness in Elementary School Study and the Mindfulness in Middle School Study, to (a) develop new observational measures of teacher care in the classroom (b) to provide initial evidence for aspects of the validity and reliability of these new measures; and (c) to see if such measures are amenable to change through a well-studied teacher mindfulness program. The specific measures of teacher care in the classroom that we plan to develop as part of this project include: (1) teachers’ emotional positivity in classroom speech (derived from transcriptions of teacher speech in specified segments of classroom video); (2) teachers’ embodiment of a calm, clear, and kind presence in the classroom (derived from trained coders ratings of the same specified segments of classroom video); and (3) teachers’ patience in pedagogical exchanges with students during question-and-answer exchanges in the classroom (derived from trained coders ratings of actual wait time in teacher-student exchanges in these same specified segments of classroom video). Classroom observation, survey and executive function data from 22 elementary school teachers (grades K-3) and 78 middle school teachers (grades 6-8) will be used to develop and evaluate the teacher observation measures. Our goal in this project is to create rigorous, reliable, valid and feasible measures of teacher care in the classroom that can be shared with other labs to evaluate teacher-focused mindfulness and compassion programs like the Call to Care Initiative in Education.
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