In a time of increased academic pressure students are feeling more stressed. Teachers have high expectations for their students, so students have an increased workload. Students are also juggling after school activities, college applications, and countless other stressors. They have a seemingly endless amount of things to do, and barely enough time to fit it all in twenty four hours. The bustling hallways buzzing cell phones and the plethora other distractions certainly does not help. Students are stressed and out of focus. Inevitably, this carries into the classroom. A solution that has become increasingly popular is the practice of meditation.
Meditation develops parts of the brain that control memory empathy and compassion while, simultaneously, parts of the brain in control of anxiety, fear and stress become smaller. Meditation works within the mind to increase awareness and mindfulness. By meditating we become more compassionate and calm as individuals. Meditation helps us to focus on the positive, this decreases stress and anxiety and gives us a clearer mind A clear mind helps us to think about our actions this leads to fewer mistakes and better decision making skills (Mindworks meditation.)
Teachers have been implementing meditation as a routine in their classroom, and have seen the positive effects. Research shows that mediation enhances the physical health, mental health, and wellbeing of students. After meditating students feel attentive, calm, and ready to learn. Meditation also promotes a positive classroom environment (Mindworks meditation.)
Ms. Coady, a history teacher at Franklin High School, starts her class with five minutes of meditation. Students have the option to use a Buddha board or coloring mandala if meditation is not for them. Students can comfortably put their head on their desk, close their eyes, or go where they feel comfortable meditating in classroom. Ms. Coady took classes this summer on social emotional learning and the benefits on meditation in the classroom. She just started meditation in her classroom this year and has been “pleasantly surprised by the way it has been received by students” Ms. Coady believes that meditation helps to transition students into the classroom and helps them to focus.
There are different types of meditation such as a body scan, compassionate meditation, mindfulness meditation, loving-kindness meditation and more. There is also an abundance of different background sounds. You can also do a guided or unguided meditation. There are so many different ways to meditate, many of which students have tried in the classroom. Ms. Coady incorporates variety into her meditation, asks for students input, and works with students to make meditation more comfortable. Because of this it feels like a developing practice that is constantly improving.
Simply taking five minutes at the beginning of each class to meditate not only improves the overall well being of students, but could also improve education drastically. Classroom meditation and other mindfulness activities will become more frequent at Franklin High School in upcoming years.