The Power of Meditation



The effects of meditation for students in school are mind-blowing.

Wow. My husband recently forwarded me an article that discusses the implementation of a program called Quiet Time in a San Francisco school.

What the article claims is that making students (and teachers?) fall silent twice a day (when they hear the gong) has changed, well, everything at Visitacion Valley Middle School.

“In years past,” writes David L. Kirp, the author of the article, “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.”

Now, after four years of twice-daily meditation in school, here’s how everything has changed:

“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.”

This makes my heart sing! Such a simple change, such mind-blowing results for students. It makes me wonder: What is it like for teachers to have Quite Time twice a day? What happens inside them and how does it change how they teach and relate to their students?

And that makes me wonder further: Do teachers need their schools to impose Quiet Time on everyone by striking the gong? Can teachers impose this discipline on themselves and on their students? Would it be impossible to start and even end classes with a little meditation? I don’t know how long Quiet Time generally lasts, and perhaps its salutary effects don’t kick in unless one meditates for a certain length of time. But this article suggests a little experimenting might be worthwhile!

Talk about slowing down in school.