Last updated on September 26th, 2023.
Meditation has become a popular and beneficial way to work through stress, emotions, and other ailments, so it is no surprise that it is being discussed to be taught in school. It can help children of all ages to cope.
Meditation can help children and teens with their stress and emotions too just as it does for adults. It would be very beneficial for it to be used during school hours especially since there can be many stressful elements that school brings.
Here is everything you should know about meditation and why it would only benefit students who are able to learn meditative techniques. They can use it in their everyday life and use it long into adulthood.
Should Meditation Be Taught In Schools?
Yes. There are many benefits that come from meditation that can help improve a student’s mental and physical health. The worst-case scenario is that a student views meditation as boring or just learn that it isn’t the best fit for them.
Many students nowadays are participating in destructive coping mechanisms or using escapism via social media. Meditation provides a healthier outlet to resolve strong emotions and work through it. When students are able to clear their minds, they can learn to do better in school and social relationships.
Learning these meditation skills and practicing mindfulness is perfect for students because they can use these skills as they get older. It will make them more resilient and successful when they become adults.
Meditation is an easy skill to teach your students. Meditation also gives them the opportunity to manifest through meditation the positive things they want in their lives. There are ample amounts of free resources out there that can be used for the program. Teachers can also get certified in that area quickly without years and years of education. The possibilities are endless. As a teacher, you can find 4 great mindfulness techniques in this article to practice.
It is important to understand that the success of meditation being taught in schools is having trained teachers and a good program. It should not be used as a class to put any students or it could result in failure.
Criticism Against Meditation
Although meditation is quite beneficial, there are many who have spoken out against teaching this in the classroom. Some believe that teaching this is a gateway into the religion of Buddhism and those who disagree because of this are more for a secular curriculum.
Others believe it is teaching students to be passive. They argued that learning these skills could make students targets for bullying and that minority students will become targets by others. But this is often a misconception.
These are all valid concerns, but with the right program, meditation is more beneficial than the downfalls. Any of these areas can be corrected or modified to fit the classroom needs. The great thing about meditation is that you can modify it to fit your student body rather than a one-size-fits-all.
What Does Research Suggest Around Meditation Taught In Schools?
Research suggests that having students learn meditation can help them self-regulate their emotions and reactions while also making it easier for them to focus on their studies. They learn to be mindful of where they are mentally and physically while being mindful of others.
Researchers found many benefits from meditation that would only improve the student’s experience in the classroom as well as at home. Some of the findings also suggest the following:
- It had positive effects on the brain.
- It boosted attention span and concentration.
- Helped develop coping mechanism for stress.
- Improved student’s response to adversity.
These result were seen comparing middle school students against each other. A small group participated in an 8 week meditation course. These students showed many of these benefits compared to those that didn’t take the course.
What Researchers Suggest For Success?
Schools cannot just create a course and expect that it will succeed without there being guidelines. Researchers suggest that these things need to be taken into consideration if the meditation for this to succeed:
- Incorporate consistency.
- Get the whole school involved.
- Give teachers time to practice meditation and mindfulness skills themselves.
- Allow the students to make their own time for meditation.
- Provide multiple methods of meditation for students.
Consistency is always key when it comes to the successful integration of a new program. This is especially the case when it comes to school age children. It may take them a few weeks to get used to the changes as well as to see the benefits of meditation.
If you change the way the program is being taught or how students incorporate it in their day, you will find little success learning how to use meditation.
Get The Whole School Involved
It will be difficult to see any improvement if the whole school isn’t involved in the program. If you have a few faculty that think it is silly can be toxic to the program. Students may not participate or purposely make it difficult for success. This will affect the outcome of the student’s meditation course.
Give Teachers Time To Practice
Teachers will not be able to teach meditation skills if the teachers haven’t experienced it themselves. They need to understand the benefits and practice the many methods of meditation to better show their students.
A teacher that doesn’t practice this could teach students more harmful skills rather than beneficial. They need to learn the skill before they can teach it, just like when they get a degree in their specific topic.
Allow Students To Make Their Own Time
Meditation is to help improve their life and not worsen it. Allowing students to incorporate meditation into their day without setting a specific time can give them control and help them figure out when it is best to practice.
Students will not only learn about meditation but be able to learn about time management skills that could help them later on in life. This will also increase a student’s mindfulness of themselves and when they can use it as a coping mechanism.
Provide Multiple Methods
There are various methods to which a student can learn a new skill. One method shouldn’t be taught to all the students. You should provide a few methods so that students can experiment with meditation to find which one is best for them.
Learning multiple methods is also beneficial because sometimes one way may not work as well one day but work better than the other. Some students may like to use more visuals or guided meditation while others like to focus more on their breathing techniques.
How Can Meditation Be Useful For Students?
Meditation can be quite useful for your students to learn. It helps them learn how to cope along with many other ways it helps improve their quality of life. You will see a happier and healthier student.
It is a wonderful skill to learn because it is something that students can practice anywhere. They can use it in any situation and help them regulate their emotions or triggers so that they respond in a more appropriate manner.
7 Benefits Of Meditation Being Taught In Schools
There are many reasons why meditation is great for the classroom. Your students will benefit from it and you will notice a difference in your students as they continue to practice these skills. Here are the top 7 benefits for meditation being taught in schools:
- Provides a healthy coping mechanism.
- Reduces stress.
- Improves concentration and focus.
- Increases empathy and compassion.
- Helps with social skills.
- Known to increase memory.
- Allows better sleep quality.
Provides A Healthy Coping Mechanism
Coping mechanisms are necessary to work through strong emotions that will happen in everyday life. Some students may partake in destructive coping skills like trying to always escape via video games or social media, or taking their emotions out on others.
Meditation provides the skills to cope with these emotions when teens and children often don’t know what to do with them. They can work through whatever triggers them and find a better way to respond to the trigger.
With being able to regulate and work through big emotions, this means that meditation will also reduce stress. It causes your mind to slow down and provide control over your body. This provides tranquility that can help reduce stress and make it easier for students to work through difficult situations.
Meditation also requires control over breathing techniques. These techniques can lower stress levels as well as cortisol and improve health. The breathing techniques will also allow your students the ability to relax. Here are some ways it helps reduce stress:
- Eliminates jumbled thoughts.
- Produces deep state of relaxation.
- Improves health mentally and physically.
- Improves breathing techniques and heart rate.
Improves Concentration And Focus
Meditation isn’t about closing your eyes and just thinking of nothing, although these may be some qualities of it. It is about breathing, control, and focus. As students begin to practice these abilities, it will increase and improve their concentration and focus in other areas as well.
Practicing meditation will make it easier for your student to clear their minds and be able to concentrate on the tasks at hand. You will see your students’ be able to manage their thoughts and attention with more ease.
Increases Empathy And Compassion
Students who meditated showed a reduction in behavioral problems and were more likely to help others when in need. They can slow down their thoughts and work through problems more slowly with a level head. They aren’t responding with the first emotion that they feel.
Students will feel more joyful and relaxed from their meditation which will also give them a sense of clarity. With clarity, students can be more empathetic and compassionate to their peers. They won’t immediately feel like they are attacked and take in the situation more profoundly.
Helps With Social Skills
Believe it or not, meditation can improve a student’s social skills. Throughout their school age years, they are constantly molding and transforming by testing out their social environment. With meditation, they can improve their social skills.
So how does it help with social skills? It allows your student better control over their emotions and temper. They can develop more patience and not react with impulsivity or lack of control. This also means less issues in the classroom and better problem-solving with peers.
Known To Increase Memory
Research has shown that when students and other people partake in meditation, it improves your working memory. This means that you can store more temporary information in your memory.
Psychologists have completed research showing that someone’s memory improves when they utilize meditation. With improved memory means increase in cognitive problem solving skills. This is very useful for students who may not have a great memory or trouble with problem solving skills.
Students who meditated were seen to retain more information in a lecture compared to students who didn’t meditate. There was an increase of about 11% and based on test results, students in general could recall more.
Allows Better Sleep Quality
Because meditation provides better physical and mental health, it also improves the quality of sleep your student has. Many studies have shown that when someone practices meditation, they are able to achieve the better quality brain waves in their sleep.
Sleep is important for students to be successful in their studies. You will see their grades and mood improve when they get the appropriate amount of sleep and the quality of sleep. It is always important to get a good quality as the right amount means nothing if you sleep poorly.
Poor sleep quality can decrease concentration, focus, and memory. Students won’t do well on their studies and you can see more behavioral problems. And we all know that many students have trouble with sleep because of social media, games, and the other stressful factors in their life.
Schools who incorporate meditation courses will only see an improvement in the environment of their school. They will find a reduction in behavioral problems and increased grades. There are so many benefits that there really is no downfall to incorporating this skill in the classroom.