Meditation to Improve Student Performance

Who couldn’t use a little quiet each day?

There seems to be more and more indication that setting aside some classroom time to meditate ( just 15 minutes, twice a day, even just to read quietly) could significantly improve students’ school performance – and help close that gap.

The Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education has implemented a Quiet Time Program in four underserved San Francisco Bay Area public middle and high schools schools over the last four years.

The results of 17 studies conducted to date in the Bay Area, varying in duration from three months to one year, showed benefits across parameters including reduced stress, increased emotional intelligence, reduced suspensions, increased attendance and increased academic performance.

Although controlled studies are difficult to perform in an academic setting, collectively the results of the Bay Area studies are encouraging. Two controlled studies have been published so far; others are in submission for publication. In one, the effects of the Quiet Time Program, conducted over half the academic year, were evaluated in public middle school students performing below proficiency level. Annual math and English scores improved in the students who meditated, while they declined in those who didn’t meditate. Given that the students in the study were performing below par at baseline, these results are promising.

The second controlled study, authored by WestEd, an independent evaluator, found that after seven months of the Quiet Time Program, ninth grade students who meditated showed a significant decrease in anxiety and a significant increase in resilience compared to nonmeditating students. In addition, meditating students reported sleeping better as well as higher levels of self-confidence and happiness.

What do you think about using meditation or even quiet time just to read? You can read the full New York Times article here.