July 4, 2007
Written by C.N.
Hot on the heels of my previous post about the rising popularity of Japanese manga, as a further example of how elements of traditional Asian culture are increasingly becoming incorporated into mainstream American society, the New York Times describes how many elementary schools are increasingly teaching mindfulness meditation to help students reduce stress and concentrate, inside and outside the classroom:
As summer looms, students at dozens of schools across the country are trying hard to be in the present moment. This is what is known as mindfulness training, in which stress-reducing techniques drawn from Buddhist meditation are wedged between reading and spelling tests.
Mindfulness, while common in hospitals, corporations, professional sports and even prisons, is relatively new in the education of squirming children. But a small but growing number of schools in places like Oakland and Lancaster, Pa., are slowly embracing the concept — as they did yoga five years ago. . . .
Although some students take naturally to mindfulness, it is “not a magic bullet,” said Diana Winston, the director of mindfulness education at the U.C.L.A. center. She said the research thus far was “inconclusive” about how effective mindfulness was for children who suffered from trauma-related disorders, for example. It is “a slow process,” Ms. Winston added.
I applaud these schools for taking the initiative to expand their curriculum to include these meditation techniques to their students. Ultimately, these skills they learn in trying to reduce their stress, staying calm in different social situations, and showing greater thoughtfulness and tolerance to others around them, might be one of the most useful skills they’ll learn while in school.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Mindfulness Meditation in the Classroom" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/07/mindfulness-meditation-in-the-classroom/> ().
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