By Nasheetah Hossain
It is very evident that students today are more stressed than ever because schools are not doing enough to manage the many issues that teenagers face. This is why a school in Baltimore, Maryland, decided to replace restrictive hours of detention with time alloted for meditation and mindfulness.
When a student at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School was enraged by his peers, he was not sent to a detention room with pale walls and air reeking of frustration and angst. Instead, he was sent to a Mindful Moment Room where he was allowed to process and face his anger.
“I did some deep breathing, had a little snack, and I got myself together,” the boy told CNN. “Then I apologized to my class.”
In the first year of implementing this new system, suspensions at Coleman Elementary have decreased by more than half. In addition, attendance rates increased by 3 percent, grade promotions increased by 19 percent, and average student GPA increased by a half percent, according to the Baltimore Times.
Educators tend to generalize all disruptive behaviour as being disrespectful or disobedient. Often times, that is not the case, since kids are simply struggling to find a healthy outlet for their emotions.
There are numerous reasons why a student may be acting out, one of them being facing abuse and neglect at home, causing imploding frustration within them. Similarly, sometimes people become bullies from being bullied themselves. If more schools do not try to solve this problem at its root, students may never really get to the end of this behavior at all.
When a student sits down in a four-walled cage with the expectation of spending hours doing nothing that is truly inspiring or mentally productive, frustration only builds up.
A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2014 suggests that mindfulness meditation can help ease psychological stressors such as anxiety, depression, and pain.
Not only does meditation help decrease stress and anxiety, it enhances concentration and impulse control as well. All of this is infinitely important for a growing child as well as a teenager. When kids reach their teenage years, they are expected to have their behaviours and choices in control already. However, if they were never taught self control at a young age, they will not have it in the future.
To ensure a better future for students, educators should take the time to not only understand them, but also help them understand themselves. This process will ultimately help students avoid making more disastrous mistakes. Detention and other forms of restriction can be counterproductive to this cause and will only evoke more frustration and struggle within young minds. Meditation, on the other hand, will not only help children navigate through better discipline, it will also help them find better clarity and tranquility in their future.