Kids come to school with all kinds of emotions—and the school environment can supercharge those emotions, whether they are positive or negative. To head off negative behaviors and instead foster optimism and self-determination, more and more schools are incorporating mindfulness practices and programs into their already-full school days.
In the latest issue of Educational Leadership, Bryan Goodwin, McREL’s president and CEO, takes a closer look at these practices and programs to determine what effects they have on student behavior and, ultimately, achievement.
Goodwin’s review of the research reveals a limited number of rigorous studies on mindfulness programs in school. The studies that exist show positive effects on a variety of outcomes, including student attention, focus, behavior, test anxiety, executive function, and even sleep patterns—but no link to student achievement.
This makes it a harder sell to some parents and educators, Goodwin writes, but it doesn’t mean schools should abandon the idea. Anecdotally, schools report positive effects on learning, and many of the already demonstrated outcomes of mindfulness are linked to student achievement. So it’s quite possible a link will be proven someday—and, in the meantime, practices like a few minutes of daily meditation are a simple way to get all students more ready to learn.
Read the entire column here.