March 22, 2011

Transcendental Meditation Improves Academics

(Ivanhoe Newswire) "“ Transcendental Meditation may be an effective method to improving math and English academic achievement in low-performing student, according to this study.

The study was conducted using 189 middle schoolers in California's public school system who were below proficiency level in English and math. Change in academic achievement was evaluated using the California Standard Tests (CST).

"The results of the study provide support to a recent trend in education focusing on student mind/body development for academic achievement," Dr. Ronald Zigler, study co-author and associate professor at Penn State, Abington, was quoted as saying. "We need more programs of this kind implemented into our nation's public schools, with further evaluation efforts."

Students who practiced the Transcendental Meditation program showed significant increases in math and English scale scores and performance level scores over a one-year period. Forty-one percent of the meditating students showed a gain of at least one performance level in math compared to 15.0% 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 controls, which showed a slight gain.

"This initial research, showing the benefits of the Quiet Time/Transcendental Meditation program on academic achievement, holds promise for public education" Sanford Nidich, EdD, lead author and professor of education at Maharishi University of Management, was quoted as saying.

"The findings suggest that there is an easy-to-implement, value-added educational program which can help low-performing minority students begin to close the achievement gap."

The middle school level is of particular concern to educators because of low academic performance nationally. Sixty-six percent of eighth-grade students are below proficiency level in math and 68% are below proficiency level in reading, based on 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress data.

In addition, faculty reported the children to be calmer, happier, and less hyperactive, with an increased ability to focus on schoolwork. The faculty also reported less student fights, less abusive language, and an overall more relaxed and calm atmosphere.

SOURCE: Education, published online March 21, 2011