Data Show Positive Outcomes Associated with Mindfulness practice
By Coleen Clemens, Feb 08, 2016
The article states:
- there are compelling anecdotes supporting the efficacy of mindfulness practices in schools
- mindfulness practices e.g., learning to control attention and emotions, help students, particularly students from low-income households, cope with challenges so they can learn better
- in one study, mindfulness practice led to a dip in inattentiveness, symptoms of hyperactivity for a period of at least two months.
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One of San Francisco’s toughest schools transformed by the power of meditation
By Anne Leach, November 2015
Surrounded by drugs and gang violence, the kids who attended Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Franscisco (500 students aged 11-13), were frequently stressed out and agitated. Starting in 2007, the school implemented a meditation program, which has led to reduced staff and student stress and improved student achievement. A meditation program called Quiet Time, was brought in to meet some of the challenges that students and staff faced every day. Within 1 month of implementing the program school staff began to notice a positive difference. Students worked harder, paid more attention, were easier to teach and the number of fights fell dramatically. Barry O’Driscoll, the school’s head of physical education stated: “It’s provided a lot of stability to our school, helping staff and kids get through the stress they have in their lives.”
- In 2007 suspensions were reduced by 45%.
- 2009-10, attendance rates were over 98% (some of the highest in the city)
- In 2014, California Healthy Kids Survey, from the state’s education department found that students at Visitacion Valley middle school were the happiest of all San Franscisco schools
- By 2015, 20% of graduates were admitted to the highly academic Lowell High school
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Bringing mindfulness to the school curriculum
More and more kids across Canada are learning meditation techniques. Not everyone thinks it’s a good use of time.
By Kate Lunau, June, 2014.
In 2014, Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute in Toronto, introduced lessons in mindfulness meditation that encourages awareness of the present moment, in a non-judgmental way. All of its 200 Grade 9 students participated in six workshops over a two-month period. According to Principal Sandy Kaskens, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
At Bethune, interested teachers started practicing mindfulness together over the lunch hour in November 2013; they participated in a full day of training in January 2014 and launched student workshops a month later. “It’s become really clear that if you want to do this in schools, you have to start with teachers,” says Willem Kuyken, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Exeter, who has studied mindfulness programs in U.K. schools, where they’re more established. “The teacher needs to embody the qualities [of mindfulness] they’re trying to teach.”
The practice is spreading to schools across North America at the Elementary and Secondary level. Not everyone is on-board with Mindfulness Meditation, however. Teachers sometimes feel it’s just one more thing to deal with in addition to all their other responsibilities. Some parents in the US have also expressed concerns about perceived overtones of Eastern religion and the valuable time it takes away from education.
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- Slowing Down to Learn: Mindful Pauses That Can Help Student Engagement, Mindshift, February 2015. http://bit.ly/1QVn0tP
- Kelly Wallace, CNN, Calming the teenage mind in the classroom. Feb 9, 2016 http://cnn.it/1T5rqQS
Zenner, C. et al (2014) Mindfulness-based interventions in schools—a systematic review and meta-analysis. US National Institute of Health. http://1.usa.gov/1TQN8J