- The McKinley-Brighton Elementary School in Syracuse, New York, is experiencing positive results on student behavior and learning from a daily 30-minute opening period of meditation and mindfulness, and the establishment of a “mindful room” for students who are acting out, District Administration reports.
- Some schools are also replacing detention with meditation as a way to help traumatized students learn to deal with their emotions and self-regulate their response to situations so they can approach learning with a more positive attitude.
- Meditation is also a valuable tool for stressed teachers; in fact, allowing students to see how a teacher models these calming techniques can help students learn how to regulate their own emotions.
As social-emotional learning continues to take its place in many schools, some administrators are exploring the benefit of mediation in calming students before the day begins in earnest. The approach seems to be especially helpful for students facing traumatic situations outside of school because the period of meditation helps them separate the home and school environment so that stress doesn't affect classroom behavior and learning to as great a degree.
Student anxiety is an increasing concern for teachers and administrators as it impacts the learning environment. Techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, and yoga can play a role in reducing anxiety for students and teachers alike. These techniques are also being used, in some cases, as part of the disciplinary process because they help to de-escalate tense situations, making resolution of the issue easier.
Some criticize the approach, however, saying it's too passive, and others object to the religious implications involved. Administrators may need to take care in choosing the programs used for meditation or mindfulness to make sure these issues are addressed, and the practices might not work for every school. However, the core value of teaching students to calm themselves and to self-regulate their emotions can provide benefits to the classroom environment and learning.