Maharishi University of Management faculty joined a team of other research scientists studying the effects of Transcendental Meditation on the academic performance of at-risk urban middle school students. The purpose of the study was to determine the feasibility of establishing an in-school meditation program at an urban public middle school and to assess whether that program could help improve the academic performance of students below grade-level proficiency.
The participating school in California was located in a large urban school district primarily serving racial and ethnic minority students from low-income families. The school ranked in the lower half, academically, of all the schools in the district.
The study’s measuring tool was the California Standards Test, a part of California’s State Testing and Reporting program (STAR). It is an academic assessment test that is annually administered in all public schools in California. The two major test categories are math and English. Scores fall into percentiles that are expressed as: advanced, proficient, basic, below basic, and far below basic. The first two categories indicate grade-level academic proficiency.
189 students participated in the study; 125 students voluntarily learned Transcendental Meditation and practiced it twice a day in school over the course of the study. 64 students were in the non-meditating control group. A second control subgroup of 100 students (50 meditating and 50 non-meditating) was selected for further analysis; this secondary control group matched the participants identically on their baseline academic performance. All the students in the study initially performed below grad-level proficiency on the California Standards Test.
The results of the study showed significant improvement in the average math and English scores for students who were practicing Transcendental Meditation 40.7% of students practicing Transcendental Meditation improved at least one performance level in math, compared to 15% of the control group; and 36.8% of students practicing Transcendental Meditation improved one performance level in English, compared to 17.2% of the control group.
Ninety-two percent of the faculty surveyed reported that they felt the Quiet Time/Transcendental Meditation program was valuable for the school. They generally felt that the students were calmer, happier, less hyperactive, friendlier, and had an increased ability to focus on schoolwork. Observed changes in the classroom environment included students being more quiet and attentive, including a greater ability to work silently in academic activities. In terms of the school environment, faculty reported less student fights, less abusive language, and an overall more relaxed and calm atmosphere. ~ Sanford Nidich, Shujaa Mjasiri, Randi Nidich, Maxwell Rainforth, James Grant, Laurent Valosek, Walter Change, Ronald L. Zigler
Education reform and educational accountability has been a hot topic for at least the last decade, starting in 2001 with the implementation of the controversial No Child Left Behind Act. Educators and policy makers have routinely targeted middle school education, because academic achievement scores have been directly correlated to whether students graduate or drop out of high school.
Whether or not people agree with the government’s approach to improving public school education they can agree that improvements are needed. Incorporating Transcendental Meditation appears to be one alternative to help improve the educational system in the United States.
Want to know how Transcendental Meditation is incorporated into the curriculum at Maharishi University of Management? CLICK HERE.
The study was funded by a grant from the David Lynch Foundation
To read more details from the study, CLICK HERE.
|Anna Bruen is a MUM alumnus who graduated with a degree in Sustainable Living. Anna is the resident blogger here at MUM. To learn more about Anna take a look at her introduction post.|