At first glance, Quiet Time – a stress reduction meditation strategy used in several San Francisco middle and high schools, – looks like something out of the om-chanting 1960s. Twice daily, a gong sounds in the classroom and rowdy adolescents, who normally can’t sit still for 10 seconds, shut their eyes and try to clear their minds.
The practice of meditation in schools deserves serious attention from parents and policymakers. An impressive array of studies shows that integrating meditation into a school’s daily routine can markedly improve the lives of students. If San Francisco schools Superintendent Richard Carranza has his way, Quiet Time could well spread citywide.
Cleansing Troubled Minds
What’s happening at Visitacion Valley Middle School, which in 2007 became the first public school nationwide to adopt the program, shows why the superintendent is so enthusiastic. In this neighborhood, gunfire is as common as birdsong – nine shootings have been recorded in the past month – and most students know someone who’s been shot or did the shooting. Murders are so frequent that the school employs a full-time grief counselor.
In years past, these students were largely out of control, frequently fighting in the corridors, scrawling graffiti on the walls and cursing their teachers. Absenteeism rates were among the city’s highest and so were suspensions. Worn-down teachers routinely called in sick.
Unsurprisingly, academics suffered. The school tried everything, from counseling and peer support to after-school tutoring and sports, but to disappointingly little effect.
Now these students are doing light-years better. In the first year of Quiet Time, the number of suspensions fell by 45 percent. Within four years, the suspension rate was among the lowest in the city. Daily attendance rates climbed to 98 percent, well above the citywide average. Grade point averages improved markedly.
About 20 percent of graduates are admitted to Lowell High School – before Quiet Time, getting any students into this elite high school was a rarity. Remarkably, in the annual California Healthy Kids Survey, these middle school youngsters recorded the highest happiness levels in San Francisco.
Reports are similarly positive in the three other schools that have adopted Quiet Time. At Burton High School, for instance, students in the program report significantly less stress and depression, and greater self-esteem, than nonparticipants. With stress levels down, achievement has markedly improved, particularly among students who have been doing worst academically. Grades rose dramatically, compared with those who weren’t in the program.
Less Stress, More Passion
On the California Achievement Test, twice as many students in Quiet Time schools have become proficient in English, compared with students in similar schools where the program doesn’t exist, and the gap is even bigger in math. Teachers report they’re less emotionally exhausted and more resilient.
The research is showing big effects on students’ performance,” says Superintendent Carranza.
“Our new accountability standards, which we’re developing in tandem with the other big California districts, emphasize the importance of social-emotional factors in improving kids’ lives, not just academics.
That’s where Quiet Time can have a major impact, and I’d like to see it expand well beyond a handful of schools.”
While Quiet Time isn’t the final solution for a broken education system, it’s a game-changer for many students who otherwise might have become dropouts. That’s reason enough to make meditation a school staple, and not just in San Francisco.
David Lynch – Transcendental Meditation in Schools
Source: Karma Jello
I am at this moment reading a spectacular book on meditation that I am having much greater success at applying than any other method that I previously attempted.
The Prayer of Silence:
A Complete Course in Spiritual Transformation
©Bruce Fraser MacDonald, PhD 2011
The Prayer of Silence is built on the foundation of a Near Death Experience I had in 1966 after a serious industrial accident. That experience demonstrated in a convincing way that human consciousness is not tied to the body and that it can exist apart from the body. For many years after the NDE I wanted to re-enter that state of awareness because it put me in direct contact with areas of spiritual understanding which clarify much of what it is to be a human being.
It took many years and much searching before I finally discovered how to produce the Near Death consciousness in meditation and even longer how to teach others to do the same. The reason the Prayer of Silence is so effective is that it makes it possible for those who have not had a NDE to enter into the type of consciousness that experience makes possible. The Prayer of Silence also allows those who have had NDEs to enter again into that level of consciousness and benefit from the kind of transcendent awareness which underlies the NDE.
Well, thanks for sharing that. I also teach a set of guided meditations that are not only very powerful and teach many things besides just meditation, but are very down-to-earth also and easy for children to follow mas well. I have used these meditations to teach people and children of all ages and even toddlers & teens do very well with them. Along with learning to meditate and connect directly to the divine, they also learn how to receive spiritual gifts, clear their energy and dimensions and clear the energy & dimensions of anyone else, how to refresh their spirit when it gets worn-out, how to unlock their soul's DNA, get direct miracle healing and visit Heaven, and more. This set of meditations has been used to transform millions of lives. Although it may work well for you & some people to replicate a near-death experience level of consciousness, we are all very able to do meditation without a near-death experience or level, and that alone could scare many people & kids away from trying it. I'm happy it is working out well for you, though, and blessings for your journey.