Peter Amato urges educators to introduce meditation practices to benefit students in many ways

April 27, 2013

Digital Journal: There is no denying that children today are faced with cumbersome challenges. Fierce competition. Social media pressure. Bullying. Ever-changing technology. Rampant violence. And so much more never imagined years ago.

School districts and private schools across the country offer a variety of tools to make learning easier and help children cope with the world around them. Yet there is a proven method to aid kids in reducing stress, avoiding self destructive activities, and finding inner peace that is not being employed to great extent. Meditation.

In the wake of the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary and the shootings…

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Tibetan government in exile taking over Tibetan schools in India

April 23, 2013

Harold Mandel, The Times of India has reported on Apr 21, 2013, Tibetan administration to take over Tibetan schools in India. It has been more than 50 years since India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru took the initiative to open schools for Tibetan refugees, and now the Tibetan administration in exile is set to take over the 71 institutions which are functioning across the country. This transfer process began this month and will take at least three years to complete.

The Tibetan schools were set up after the first Tibetan refugees came to India in 1959. The schools are presently being run by the Central Tibetan Schools…

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How meditation can help students to stay focused and improve their grades

March 26, 2013

teen meditatingEvery 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 terms of … Read more »

A Buddhist blog by kids, for kids

March 25, 2013

Buddha-drawingChildren 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 to” guide … Read more »

Students meditate to relieve stress

December 6, 2012

Cody Nelson, Minnesota Daily: To deal with stress around finals week, some University of Minnesota students are turning to meditation.

Mindfulness for Students is a group that practices weekly meditation led by instructors from around the Twin Cities. Its goal: achieving mindfulness.

“To be mindful, you are able to focus your thoughts more,” said University sophomore Norma Thompson. “You can clear your head before you have to start taking on a task.”

She said the group’s meditation has helped her relax and relieve stress.

The group has existed since 2005, but president and neuroscience junior Stefan Brancel said it sees increased attendance around finals …

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Room to Breathe: The official trailer

November 13, 2012

Room to Breathe is a surprising story of transformation as struggling kids in a San Francisco public middle school are introduced to the practice of mindfulness. Topping the district in disciplinary suspensions, and with overcrowded classrooms creating a nearly impossible learning environment, overwhelmed administrators are left with stark choices. Do they repeat the cycle of forcing tuned-out children to listen, or experiment with a set of age-old inner practices that may provide them with the social, emotional, and attentional skills that they need to succeed?

Even just this brief extract of the film is powerfully moving. I can’t wait to see the whole thing.

Room to Breathe Official Trailer from Sacred Planet Films.

Here’s … Read more »

Largest randomized-controlled study to date on mindfulness and children shows significant improvements in behavior

November 1, 2012

In the 2011-12 school year, Mindful Schools partnered with the University of California, Davis to conduct the largest randomized-controlled study to date on mindfulness and children, involving 915 children and 47 teachers in 3 Oakland public schools.

The Mindful Schools curriculum (which has been taught to over 30,000 children) produced statistically significant improvements in behavior versus the control group with just four hours of mindfulness instruction for the students–a very small, low-cost treatment.

In addition to the study’s size, it is notable for the population served and the environment around the schools. There are very high levels of crime around the three schools that were studied — surroundings that add tremendous turmoil to children’s lives. … Read more »

Professors win grant to study meditation effects

October 31, 2012

Three faculty members from the University of Redlands in Redlands, California — Fran Grace, professor of Religion, Lisa Olson, associate professor of Biology, and Celine Ko, assistant professor of Psychology — have received a grant of $5,000 to fund research on the “Impact of Meditation Curriculum on Physiological and Psychosocial Stress, Well-Being, and Correlates of Academic Success.”

The grant will allow faculty members to explore the relationship between meditation, and the physical and psychological side effects of stress.

The grant was awarded by The Trust for the Meditation Process.

The research project will focus on studying previous observations from Professor Fran Grace’s meditation-based Seminar on Compassion in the Religious Studies department. The research demonstrated … Read more »

Meditation creates a little breathing space for San Francisco students

October 22, 2012

Richard Schiffman, OpEdNews: There are two jobs that have become a lot more difficult in recent years. One is being a teacher, which was never easy at the best of times. But in an age of virtually unlimited opportunities for distraction and rapidly shrinking attention spans getting kids to focus on their schoolwork can be (with apologies to dentists) like pulling teeth.

I know: As a former school aide working with young children, it was often all that I could manage just to break up fights and keep the decibel level below that at an international airport. Any “education” that actually took place …

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Academic claims silence key to good behaviour in schools

September 26, 2012

Sam Whyte, Deadline News: The sound of silence is key to better behaviour and exam results in Scottish schools, an academic claimed today.

Dr Helen Lees, an education researcher at Stirling University, said silence techniques including quiet spaces, silent reading and even meditation could work wonders.

Dr Lees said she had been “knocked back” by the sheer amount of noise in schools.

But rather than advocating old-fashioned teacher-enforced silence as an extension of discipline, Dr Lees says modern youngsters should aim for a “silent state of mind”.

She said: “I was a trainee teacher at the school I was at ten years previously …

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