“The best cure for the body is a quiet mind.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Daily Nugget of Gold 1378
Truancy and Suspensions
There’s a massive problem in the inter-city schools, one which might be reduced by a very simple concept: Kids would do better if they were actually in school than out on the streets. Truancy and suspensions are both responsible for a fairly large amount of empty seats in the classroom. We’ve tried more enforcement and fining parents for truancy with negligible results. We’ve tried to be more tolerant of disruptive behavior to keep students from being suspended, and we’ve suffered the consequences of that choice. Is there anything that has even a glimmer of hope in turning this around?
At The Visitacion Valley Middle School in a neighborhood in San Francisco where more than 40 murders occurred during one school year, their statistics pretty much mirrored the state averages for truancy and suspensions. One of the reasons why these children were under so much stress is a great many of them were personally connected to the killings in their neighborhood in some way. The principal of the school, James Dierke heard about a meditation program called “Quiet Time” and thought that it was worth a try.
The approach they took to correct that was unusual, at the beginning and the end of each school day, the teacher rang a small bell to begin a period of meditation- a quiet time- lasting 12 minutes. The students had received instruction on how to go about doing this, and the results were tangible and striking. As their stress levels decreased, the truancy rate dropped and the behavioral problems the school had experienced also fell.
We might expect such a program to deliver a ten or twenty percent result, but the results shown in this school were at the fifty percent level. The odds are enormous that no one in most of these student’s lives outside of school is teaching them to cope better with stress through meditation, but yet- this is a fairly simple thing to teach. If the “old school” approaches aren’t working, shouldn’t we be open to new ideas?
Here is a short video, just 6 minutes long, explaining the program at the school:
Question of the Day to Ask Ourselves
“What can I do to increase my own use of meditation to help lower my stress?”
Copyright 2015 Kevin Littleton, all rights reserved.