Maybe you are sceptical and think that this is just another fad - something that may be nice to have but not really a priority for your school. Maybe you are more interested in improving your students’ attendance, behaviour and exam results or your next Ofsted inspection is just around the corner and you can’t really see how a mindfulness or meditation programme will help with that.
I hope that the following summary of results from controlled studies that have been carried out on mindfulness programmes in schools will get your attention and change your views.
1) Mindfulness improves self-awareness, self-regulation and self-control
Increased self-awareness, self-control and self-regulation have been observed by teachers and reported by students after they participated in mindfulness programmes.
2) Mindfulness improves attention skills and decreases symptoms of ADHD
Primary school teachers observed improved attention skills and a decrease in symptoms of ADHD in pupils who took part in a mindfulness programme.
3) Mindfulness improves social skills and reduces aggression and misbehaviour
Improved social skills and a decrease in aggression and misbehaviour have been found in students who took part in mindfulness programmes in school.
4) Mindfulness improves positive emotions and general wellbeing
Students who took part in mindfulness programmes in schools reported an increase in positive emotions as well as general wellbeing and a decrease in symptoms of depression.
5) Mindfulness improves attendance
Absences as well as the number of exclusions decreased in schools that took part in a mindfulness programme and consequently attendance figures improved.
6) Mindfulness reduces stress and anxiety levels
One of the most reported effects of mindfulness programmes in schools is a reduction in stress symptoms and anxiety levels. This includes test anxiety.
7) Mindfulness improves academic performance
It is therefore not at all surprising that academic performance improved as well.
8) It works fast!
The most amazing outcome from all this research, however, is the fact that the majority of studies looked at programmes that only lasted for 8-9 weeks with no more than 30 to 60 minutes of weekly mindfulness sessions.
9) The effects last!
In one study, researchers went back after 3 months, during the stressful summer exam period, and found that the effects were still maintained. They also discovered that those students who used mindfulness practices more frequently also performed better in their exams.
Still wondering what the benefits are? I hope not.