On a recent morning at Visitacion Valley Middle School in South San Francisco, Principal James Dierke looked out over the school’s auditorium at more than 100 eighth graders. A restless din filled the large room. Bursts of laughter and errant shouts punctuated the buzz. Most of the students seemed disinterested in Dierke’s announcements about the spring’s impending graduation, upcoming field trips, and recent birthdays.
Then, Dierke struck a bell and said, “Okay, it’s quiet time.”
And just like that, a hush fell over the auditorium. Students straightened their backs and closed their eyes. Some bowed their heads. Others rested them on the backs of …
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 students to discover more about what they were trying to communicate.
An address I’m scheduled to give today at a high school in New Hampshire, where the students have been making secular prayer flags, in order to “send their positive thoughts into the world.”
It’s a pleasure and an honor to be here, and I’d like to thank you for having me. I’m delighted to hear that you’ve been putting your positive thoughts on flags and sending them out into the universe. Of course I don’t believe that your thoughts will literally be sent out on the wind, but I see great significance in what you’re doing.
To print your positive thoughts on fabric you have, of course, to have had a positive thought. … Read more »
Mail Online: Council’s wellbeing consultant insists classes are ‘not just some hippy idea’ and aid concentration.
Lying down in a circle may seem like a rather unusual way to run a lesson, but teachers say meditation and yoga has helped hundreds of primary school pupils to improve their grades.
The nine to 11-year-olds are taught to ‘channel their energy’ once a week in a class that focuses on relaxation and breathing techniques
During the one hour sessions pupils from across Essex are also taught a series of beginner yoga positions designed to improve their mental health and well-being.
Teachers involved in the trial scheme have reported significant improvements in the concentration and grades of their … Read more »
Lawerence Synett: Students in a freshman honors English class at Prairie Ridge High School were asked to assume certain positions, chant and lie on the floor as part of an activity connected to reading the novel “The Alchemist,” drawing a complaint from a father who is a minister and thought the exercise had religious overtones.
Teacher Christine Wascher let students opt out if they felt uncomfortable, but now has stopped what was intended as a new way to relate to the book.
“What she had them do was a mind-clearing visualization exercise that a parent felt was transcendental meditation,” Superintendent Jill Hawk said. “It was an activity to engage them in a part of the … Read more »
A few boys twitch and are reluctant to close their eyes. It’s not easy to get those aged 10 to 12 to keep still, let alone stop their minds from racing.
But it doesn’t take long before the soothing words of meditation teacher Janet Etty-Leal have lulled this class of grade 5 and 6 students into a different mental space.
Lying in a circle, they are practising a form of meditation known as mindfulness that has become core curriculum at Yarraman Oaks Primary School. This school in Noble Park is one of a growing number that have embraced the technique to improve focus and stress management.
Advertisement: Story continues below
Principal Bill Liston was so … Read more »
The U.S. Constitution may prohibit mandatory prayer in public schools, but it doesn’t prohibit schools from allowing students to pray on their own initiative, says City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who wants to encourage the practice.
“Students are free to pray alone or in groups as long as the activity is not disruptive and does not infringe on the rights of others,” according to a resolution adopted unanimously in Council yesterday at Blackwell’s request.
It calls for Council’s Education Committee, headed by Blackwell, to schedule hearings on prayer in Philadelphia public schools.
“We want to discuss the policy, see if it needs to be amended and certainly let the citizens know that the issue does exist,” … Read more »
A remote diocese in Australia is leading the way by allowing regular periods of silent meditation in the classroom
If you want your children to feel more relaxed and less stressed, give them silence, not iPods.
This unthinkable idea came to mind after listening to Ernie Christie and Dr Cathy Day, two educationists from Queensland, Australia. They were addressing an audience at Regent’s College, London, on the benefits of allowing children to experience regular periods of silent meditation in the classroom.
A pilot study in 2005, involving teaching meditation to five- to 17-year-olds, had shown that children are not only capable of meditation, they actually enjoy it. The benefits to children’s wellbeing were so obvious … Read more »
‘Mindfulness’, the process of learning to become more aware of our ongoing experiences, increases well-being in adolescent boys, a new study reports.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge analyzed 155 boys from two independent UK schools, Tonbridge and Hampton, before and after a four-week crash course in mindfulness. After the trial period, the 14 and 15 year-old boys were found to have increased well-being, defined as the combination of feeling good (including positive emotions such as happiness, contentment, interest and affection) and functioning well.
Professor Felicia Huppert of the Well-being Institute at the University of Cambridge said: “More and more we are realising the importance of supporting the overall mental health of children. Our study … Read more »
Anthea Cannon: Every teacher’s quest for a calm and focused class may be more than a dream, with meditation scoring results with some of Maribyrnong’s junior students.
In the first study into the effects of Buddhist education, Victoria University PhD graduate Sue Smith found grade 3 to 6 students were happier, had improved concentration, coped with anxieties and felt greater kindness toward themselves and others.
Dr Smith said the study of 12 schools showed Buddhist-inspired meditation had an important place in education without being religious.
“Consistently the children were marking themselves in the positive category after…