Meditation improves maths and English

Meditation improves maths and English

Created: Monday, March 28, 2011

The Transcendental Meditation technique may be an effective approach to improve maths and English academic achievement in low-performing students, according to a new study published in the journal Education.

The study was conducted at a California public middle school with 189 students who were below proficiency level in English and maths. Change in academic achievement was evaluated using the California Standards Tests (CST).

Students who practised the Transcendental Meditation programme showed significant increases in maths and English scale scores and performance level scores over a one-year period. 41% of the meditating students showed a gain of at least one performance level in maths compared to 15% of the non-meditating controls.

Among the students with the lowest levels of academic performance, “below basic” and “far below basic,” the meditating students showed a significant improvement in overall academic achievement compared to the control group, which showed a slight gain.

“This initial research, showing the benefits of the Quiet Time/Transcendental Meditation programme on academic achievement, holds promise for public education,” said Sanford Nidich, EdD, lead author and professor of education at Maharishi University of Management. “The findings suggest that there is an easy-to-implement, value-added educational programme which can help low-performing minority students begin to close the achievement gap,” said Nidich.

Results highly relevant to South Africa

“This study has huge relevance to South Africa,” said Dr Taddy Blecher, director of Consciousness Based Education in South Africa. “The school featured in the study was situated in a poor and often violent neighbourhood, and the students participating in the study were from underprivileged socio-economic backgrounds, with low and sometimes very low levels of proficiency in basic educational skills. These are the same kind of challenges that confront educators in South Africa. At present, standard tests of basic skills (especially maths) at Grade 6 level place South African children near the bottom of the international table.

“Where we have implemented Transcendental Meditation in South African schools,” Blecher continued, “results have been excellent. When 9,000 school-children learned TM in a Gauteng township their pass rates increased by 25%, while the pass rates of 12,000 children in other schools in the area fell by 1%.  South African schools implementing TM have also experienced a marked improvement in student motivation and discipline, as well as teacher morale.”

Faculty of the California school, surveyed as part of the project, reported the Quiet Time/Transcendental Meditation programme to be a valuable addition to the school. They reported the students to be calmer, happier, and less hyperactive, with an increased ability to focus on school-work. In terms of the school environment, faculty reported less student fights, less abusive language, and an overall more relaxed and calm atmosphere since implementation of the programme.

health24 is South Africa’s largest health website.

Also see New research shows Transcendental Meditation improves standardized academic achievement

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