In case you haven’t heard, the Transcendental Meditation® (TM) technique is on the minds of many students, teachers, and administrators these days. Jaweed Kaleem took an in-depth look at its application during Quiet Time at one school in Brooklyn, New York.
Brooklyn Urban Garden School (BUGS) has joined dozens of schools around the country and the world in implementing Quiet Time, a program that provides two 15-minute sessions every day so students can practice the TM technique or rest quietly. But is it working?
“I get into a lot more arguments with people when I do not meditate. I think it makes you feel less stressed,” one boy said.
“Your mind goes to rest, and we need that,” a girl added.
“It’s resting your mind, but I also think it’s about school,” another boy chimed in. “When I meditate, my grades go higher.”
Because the program is new, research is limited, but “early studies point to better grades, fewer suspensions, and reports of better mental health among student meditators,” Kaleem reports.
“When you meditate, you produce alpha waves, your body calms down, your pulse drops, you go out of the fight-or-flight mode. Your cortisol levels drop. Your body gets a break. It feels pleasant,” said Joshua Aronson, an associate professor of applied psychology at New York University who has studied the impact of Quiet Time on students.
“Early studies point to better grades, fewer suspensions, and reports of better mental health among student meditators.” —Jaweed Kaleem, The Huffington Post
What Teachers and Administrators Say
Teachers and administrators are also joining in. “For myself, when I don’t meditate, I am a little more of a scatterbrain,” said Ms. Walker, who is in her first year as a BUGS teacher. “I’ve noticed in my students that if they miss the morning Quiet Time if they are late to class, they are the same way.”
“Some [students] took it as a joke at the beginning, like they didn’t really get what it was,” said Walker. “But now they are learning about the brain in class, and they are talking about neurons—how you can wake them up and put them to sleep, and how meditation can help heal your brain and body. I really see it making a difference.”
“I don’t think it’s a magic bullet,” said BUGS co-founder Miriam Nunberg, who previously was a special education teacher and attorney at the Department of Education. “Do we still see kids acting out? Of course we do. But we give them a tool to cope with stress and anxiety and help them focus.”