“Martina Coyne has worked as a mindfulness teacher for NUIG Student Counselling for the past 3
years.  She is a committed and caring person who has had wonderful feedback from the student groups with whom she has worked.

The appreciation of her work has consistently mentioned her gentleness, her clear communication, her kindness and attention to students to students in her class and the fact that in herself she models mindfulness.

Students had high praise for the effects of the programmes on their lives and spoke of increased focus and concentration, which improved their academic work, greater joyfulness and resilience, less stress as well as the ability to deal more effectively with anxiety and low mood.

I can sincerely and wholeheartedly recommend Martina as a mindfulness teacher of the highest calibre.”

Geraldine Connolly
Co-Ordinator of the NUIG Student Counselling Workshop and Group-work Programme

“I am delighted to write this reference for Martina who has become an integral member of the St Mark’s community. I have known Martina since 2003 when as a music teacher, I asked for Martina’s help with a group of Leaving Certificate students who were particularly nervous about
practical exams. I sat in on the sessions she gave and watched as she provided coping mechanisms and techniques for students as they approached these exams. The students reported increased confidence and stress reduction after the sessions, and more importantly were seen using these techniques before entering into their exam.

I have worked with Martina in my capacity as Deputy Principal for the last three years. She works with students from all year either individually or in small groups. Students are referred to her by the Principal, myself or a member of our pastoral team. As such her services are complimentary to guidance, school completion and even learning support and have reduced the workload of each of these other departments. In all cases I note the difference in every student as Martina in her gentle and kind way works with them, specifically reductions in stress levels, students out of class, seeking help from guidance and other sources, and serious behavioural incidences. She has the ability to meet students at their level and form positive, respectful relationships quickly with them while using age-appropriate activities to exercise children’s reflection on their moment-to- moment experiences.

This has been very obvious in the cases of students who could not/would not engage with other members of staff e.g. Year Heads/tutors/guidance. Pupils want to work with her. Students who are very anxious benefit most from this work and noticeable improvements in engagement and confidence ensue. In all the cases resilience is built and students demonstrate the ability to name emotions and causes of stress. I see noticeable improvements in self-regulation as influences such as anxiety and stress are lessened to create conditions conducive to reflection, during the normal and school day and at stressful times. Students are equipped to react in a way that will help them cope rather than moving instantly to crisis point. The process can take time and not all students achieve the same level of success but in all cases benefits can be seen.

Martina also works with staff on a one to one basis and in small groups. Her lunchtime sessions have become invaluable to some teachers. Reductions in stress levels are very noticeable in those teachers who engage with these sessions. Martina is a very effective communicator and works well with all members of staff. She is supremely professional and diligent in her work, while providing the flexibility that is needed in working with students in a large busy school. Levels of parental engagement are excellent and they report very positively on their experiences with her.

I hope these comments have been useful in giving you an overview of Martina’s work and its effect on our school population.”

Paul Dempsey
Deputy Principal, St Mark’s Community School Tallaght, Dublin 24

“The Mindfulness Programme in our school has been very successful. Students report a greater ability to concentrate in class and an improved sense of wellbeing. Attendance of individual sessions has been excellent and the whole class programme has enabled more students to learn about and benefit from Mindfulness practice.”

Brian Melia,
Principal, Galway Community College

“Martina has been facilitating Mindfulness sessions for Galway City East School Completion Programme since September 2015. The sessions have been taking place each week, on an individual and whole-class basis and have given students a quiet space in which to practice techniques to be more present in the moment, reduce stress, improve concentration and focus more when in class. Students have said they find the sessions “peaceful” and that they help them to feel more grounded in school.”

Nollaig Rabbitte,
Galway City East School Completion Programme