Sep 21, 2013
Room to Breathe is a documentary about teaching mindfulness to students of the troubled Marina Middle School in San Francisco, which tops its district for disciplinary suspensions, and has overcrowded classrooms creating an environment in which it’s almost impossible for learning to take place. As assistant principal Anthony Braxton explains near the opening of the film, a significant number of students at Marina “don’t do school” — they don’t see school as being for them.
In the class of Seventh Grade teacher Tom Ehnle, we see kids who are unable to stay on task or to pay attention. They seem to be in a constant state of fidgeting, wrestling with …
May 15, 2013
Life Coach extraordinaire Tim Brownson drew my attention to this interesting infographic last week, and I promptly forgot about it until stumbling across it again last night.
According to the graphic’s creators, by the end of 2012, at least 91 schools located in 13 states were planning to implement meditation course for their students. High school students practicing meditation for a month had 25% less absence and 38% fewer suspension days when compared to other students.
Students improved scores in their attention by practicing meditation and students found that their aggressive behavior was reduced. Students practicing focused meditation committed fewer rule infractions.
Mar 26, 2013
Every summer I spend six weeks teaching a study skills and personal development course to teens from low income families as part of a federally funded program called Upward Bound (not Outward Bound). It’s kind of crazy: every year I feel like I almost totally miss the summer because I’m teaching, grading, doing class prep, and attending various meetings. I end up sleep-deprived and completely exhausted. And the pay’s not great. But it’s totally worth it.
Part of the course involves meditation, and it’s consistently the part of the course that gets the biggest positive response in the end-of-course evaluations that the kids hand in. I’ve described the educational benefits mostly in …
Mar 25, 2013
Children from the The Dharma School in the UK, Europe’s only Buddhist-based primary school, have set up a blog to present their experience of Buddhist pracice.
At the school’s blog, pupils from Years 3 to 6 are creating a series of podcasts and blogs about meditation and mindfulness as part of an ICT project with teacher Ross Young. As most of the information online about meditation is written by adults (and primarily for adults) the kids wanted to relay their experiences and perspectives in a way they felt would be accessible to children their own age.
You can subscribe to receive regular updates and podcasts (via itunes) and check out their “how …
Apr 14, 2012
Feb 11, 2012
Students participating in the class are required to observe disciplines drawn from various monastic traditions, including refraining from using any technology other than electric lighting, quitting coffee and alcohol, avoiding physical contact and prolonged eye contact, and eating only unprocessed foods.
Students also have to follow a dress code, with males wearing black shirts and females wearing white shirts, and males and females have to sit on opposite sides of the classroom.
That’s not all.
No makeup, jewelry or hair products.
Oct 27, 2011
A few days ago I gave a talk at a high school about 40 minutes from my house. Some of the students had made secular “prayer flags,” which had the purpose of expressing their positive thoughts and sending them out into the world.
The prayer flags had been hung where they would brighten up a rather unattractive central courtyard, which now contained a “ger” (Tibetan yurt), designed (I think) in the geometry class. You can just see the ger in the background of the second photograph.
Some of the images were intriguing, and I wish I’d been able to talk more with individual …
Oct 04, 2010
Taneesha Never Disparaging is billed as a young adult novel, but it’s a perfect read for all ages, exemplifying how spiritual principles can help us face up to our fears and transform hatred into love.
Taneesha Bey-Ross is a typical fifth-grader, facing her weaknesses and challenges in home, school and daily life. Taneesha is funny, creative, honest, and a loyal friend to Carli, a girl she befriended in first grade. Carli lives with her father and wears leg braces. Taneesha is African-American, while Carli is white. It is on their walks home together after school that they encounter their tormentor — a girl twice their size who bullies …
Aug 05, 2010
For the last six weeks I’ve been teaching a class at the University of New Hampshire’s Upward Bound program. The class is called “Success Studies” and it’s a combination of study skills and personal development, aimed at teens from impoverished backgrounds. The aim is to prepare them from college in order to break the cycle of poverty that affects poor communities.
We’ve done some meditation in every class; not much, just five or six minutes at a time during which we’ve explored the breath, learned different ways of paying attention that can help calm us or make us more alert, and cultivated lovingkindness. Most of the students seemed …