New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Factors Affecting Special Education Teachers’ Feelings of Burnout and Perceptions of Mindfulness-based Practices to Build Social and Emotional Competence

Carol Anne Cao, Texas Tech University (United States)

Keri Borzello, Summit View Schools (United States)


This convergent parallel mixed methods study addressed the challenges special education (SpEd) teachers of students with learning disabilities (LD) face, the supports SpEd teachers need to help with feelings of burnout, and SpEd teachers’ perspectives about the benefits of mindfulness-based practices to help with burnout and social and emotional competence (SEC).  Results from the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Educator Survey noted that emotional exhaustion was the burnout dimension that contributed most to burnout.  Semi-structured interviews and observations established the factors leading to burnout, the supports in place and the supports needed to help alleviate feelings of burnout, and the benefits and challenges of mindfulness-based practices.  Mixed-methods results confirmed that the factors leading to burnout affect emotional exhaustion more than personal accomplishment or depersonalization. Though supports in place help SpEd teachers manage the challenges faced in the profession, more can be done to help teachers build high SEC, in order to be able to connect with student and create a learning environment for types of learners.  In addition, mindfulness-based practices were discussed as one method to help teachers reduce feelings of burnout and increase SEC.  

Keywords: special education, burnout, mindfulness, social and emotional competence;


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