When the Meditation in Schools Project comes up in conversation with an adult the response is usually positive, concluding with:
“Oh the students are so stressed and distracted these days – it’s so needed”
Sometimes teachers contact Mind Space looking for a technique to help their student’s experience calm and focus. This is great!
However one of the most important elements of bringing stillness into the classroom is the well-being of the staff. In some respects this needs to be addressed before the students.
Otherwise you end up with a Meditation session that is ‘policed’ by staff.
Members of staff marching around making sure that the students are Meditating.
Pulling out any member of the group who is making a noise.
As any of you know who attends a Meditation class, there needs to be a calm atmosphere in the room if the Meditation is going to work successfully.
I was happy to read about a series of Meditation sessions that are being run for staff in the USA – you can find out more details here:
In a school, Meditation for Staff really needs to be the first step. To have the staff on board and understanding the process of Meditation. If this can happen then you’re half way there.
If the staff and ideally the parents appreciate the practices of Meditation then this will benefit the students.
At the last school I visited I asked the students at the beginning of the class, what they thought Meditation was. The usually responses came back:
‘Chanting MMMMM sitting like this sir – (cross-legged, hands upturned on the knees)
Where does this view come from?
The cliche views held by elders.
If parents and teachers can practice Meditation then this has an effect on the students.
Simply, their actions of body, speech and mind are calmer and gentler.
This has a profound effect. They don’t need to say or mention anything about Meditation – ‘you must practice Meditation!’
Far from it.
The tradition of Meditation is that you only practice when your ready. Nobody can force or push you into Meditation practices.
This is why I say to schools and companies who are interested in introducing Meditation to their students and staff.
‘It needs to be an activity that they opt into, that they choose to do.’
Otherwise it becomes another case of: ‘You need Meditate’
This makes no sense if you Meditate, as its pointing the finger outside.
So my advice to a school that wishes to bring more calm into their classroom is to begin with the teachers and parents.
Hold a few introductory sessions for them, this is also an opportunity to discover what their students/children will be practicing, ask some questions and gain experience.