The Quiet Time/TM Programme

What is the Quiet Time with Transcendental Meditation programme for schools?

The Quiet Time with Transcendental Meditation programme (Quiet Time/TM programme) consists in adding for a few minutes at the beginning and at the end of the school day the twice-daily practice of a simple, scientifically documented psycho-physiological technique, Transcendental Meditation, that has been found to be effective for the development of brain functioning, cognitive performance, personality integration and positive social behaviour. No changes in the educational curriculum are required other than this addition, which can be incorporated as the main element of a ‘Quiet Time’ programme in the school. Students who volunteer, and whose parents approve, practise the Transcendental Meditation technique during the Quiet Time sessions while others are engaged in non-academic activities such as quiet reading or rest.

This programme addresses the root-cause of negative attitudes and violence by directly promoting the psycho-physiological well-being of all students and learners, including those with a minority or disadvantaged background (migrants, ethnic minorities, etc.).

What is the Quiet Time with Transcendental Meditation programme for schools?

The Quiet Time with Transcendental Meditation programme (Quiet Time/TM programme) consists in adding for a few minutes at the beginning and at the end of the school day the twice-daily practice of a simple, scientifically documented psycho-physiological technique, Transcendental Meditation, that has been found to be effective for the development of brain functioning, cognitive performance, personality integration and positive social behaviour. No changes in the educational curriculum are required other than this addition, which can be incorporated as the main element of a ‘Quiet Time’ programme in the school. Students who volunteer, and whose parents approve, practise the Transcendental Meditation technique during the Quiet Time sessions while others are engaged in non-academic activities such as quiet reading or rest.

This programme addresses the root-cause of negative attitudes and violence by directly promoting the psycho-physiological well-being of all students and learners, including those with a minority or disadvantaged background (migrants, ethnic minorities, etc.).

What is the Transcendental Meditation Technique?

Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a very simple, natural technique that allows the body to settle into a state of profound rest and relaxation and the mind to achieve a state of inner peace and alertness. After learning it, in just few days from a certified TM teacher, it is practised for 15/20 minutes twice a day, sitting comfortably with eyes closed. This technique is very easy to learn and enjoyable to practise, so also young children can practise and enjoy it. Once learned, it’s an investment for life.

During Transcendental Meditation the mind settles down gradually towards the source of thought, and so naturally also the body obtains a significant deep rest that eliminates those deep-rooted stresses that are recognised as the main causes of psychosomatic illness. It’s an effortless technique for “recharging the mind and body” and creating a brighter, more positive state of mind.

The rest obtained by the practice of TM has been found to be qualitatively superior to normal sleep and thus it is capable of awakening the inner intelligence of the body responsible for our health and eliminating deep stresses reducing biochemical markers of cortisol and plasma lactate. (American Journal of Physiology235:R89–R92,1978).

It spontaneously produces inner calm and a wider vision of life, reducing irritability and aggression, increasing tolerance and the ability to appreciate ourselves and others. As a result, behaviour becomes naturally more harmonious and interpersonal relationships are more cordial and fulfilling. (Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 2003; 36: 89–95, and Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2003;1(1): 10).

Meta-analysis has also found these results to be unique to the Transcendental Meditation technique compared to other forms of meditation or relaxation. (Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 2003; 36 (1-4): 97–126; Permanente Journal 2014 ;18(1):19–23).

Quiet Time/TM programme:

a whole-school approach

As it is a whole-school approach promoting inclusive education, the practice of TM is offered to teachers, administrators and other school staff from the beginning of the implementation process, and parents are also strongly engaged in the programme and accurately informed about the good practice adopted. Parents are also offered the possibility to learn TM if they wish.

The FRIENDS project demonstrated that this novel approach is adaptable and replicable to different educational settings, and that it has the potential of becoming mainstream for its main characteristics:

E

It is easy to learn

E

It can be easily implemented at all levels of education, from early child education to upper secondary education

E

It adopts a comprehensive whole school policy framework that creates a more healthy and inclusive school environment, better relationships between pupils and teachers, and increasing parental involvement

E

It is religion and philosophy neutral

E

It is easily implementable through a new policy, or integrated as a supporting tool for the already existing national policies, in answer to social exclusion and to foster migrants’ integration

E

Qualified instructors are available in the participating countries and across Europe, facilitating the up-scaling of the programme and its sustainability in other European education contexts

The Quiet Time/TM Programme for social inclusion

 

The Quiet Time/TM programme has been the subject of hundreds of published peer-reviewed studies, including randomised control trials (RCT), which use a scientific protocol to reduce bias when testing a new approach or phenomenon. Participants in the trials are randomly allocated either to the group receiving the treatment under investigation or to a group receiving standard treatment as a control group.

The results showed a general tendency of holistic students’ development across different dimensions: cognitive, affective, physiological, behavioural, and social. A reduction of risk factors associated with minority and disadvantaged learners and early school leavers has also been observed.

Relevant social inclusion’s studies show:

E

Greater appreciation of others

University students practising the Transcendental Meditation Programme developed more positive and constructive relationship patterns than the control group (Perceptual and Motor Skills 64: 1003–1012, 1987)

E

Greater altruism

Individuals practising the Transcendental Meditation Programme were found to have a strong concern for the welfare of others (Western Psychologist 4: 104–111, 1974)

E

Increased tolerance

Secondary students who learned the Transcendental Meditation Programme showed, after 14 weeks, increased tolerance in contrast to control students who did not receive the Programme (Dissertation Abstracts International 38(7): 3372B–3373B, 1978).

The uniqueness of the present proposal is that it promotes social inclusion by directly addressing the psycho-physiological conditions of the student that contribute to more effective learning in the classroom and to the reduction of environmental stress of all types.

Based on previous published results and on the FRIENDS field experience, the project has developed a set of policy recommendations, including the results of the evaluation, with an emphasis on both the enablers of, and also the barriers to, scaled-up implementation, and with practical information for implementing the Quiet Time with Transcendental Meditation programme in schools on a wider scale, for creating an impact at the European level.

As an innovative and learner–centred programme, the Quiet Time/TM programme has the potential to create a great impact on European education systems in promoting social inclusion because:

  • It promotes tolerance amongst diverse populations by allowing the experience of profound inner peace and calmness.
  • It provides scientific evidence of reduction of  stress and improvement of  learning outcomes at the individual level, particularly with learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. As a side benefit, there is an increase in motivation and resilience and a reported reduction of drop-out and early school leaving.
  • It enhances teachers’ and administrators’ strong leadership, empowerment, motivation, and innovative high-quality teaching, increasing their resilience, mental health, and emotional intelligence.
  • Social behaviour becomes more tolerant and inclusive. The programme helps to create a learning environment that fosters equity and inclusion where disadvantaged learners (including ethnic minorities and migrants) are not discriminated against but receive the support they need to succeed and feel respected and valued
  • Overall, the programme has been shown to overcome the predictive power of demographics

Schools practising in the world

“Quiet Time should be in every school!”

Carlos Garcia, Superintendent, San Francisco Unified School District.

The Quiet Time/TM programme has been adopted successfully in many schools worldwide, including very difficult ones in terms of high rates of youth behaviour challenges, teacher turnover, and academic achievement gaps. The programme’s excellent results have attracted the interest of regional and national governments all over the world including in the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, India, Kenya, Uganda, Jamaica, the USA and all of Latin America including Ecuador (in military school) and Brazil. By introducing meditation to the entire school community—students, teachers, and principals alike—this innovative programme has effectively restored a positive culture of academic success and well-being in deprived school communities.

An explanatory report of Quiet Time/TM programme implementation in USA can be found at the following link of David Lynch’s Foundation https://www.davidlynchfoundation.org/pdf/Quiet-Time-Brochure.pdf (The Foundation was started in 2005 by the film director, David Lynch, to promote Consciousness-Based Education and world peace, and actively teaches TM to both adults and children in many countries, giving special support and attention to marginalised populations..

In Europe, two government-supported schools, in the UK and in the Netherlands, have been implementing this good practice for more than 30 years: Maharishi School Trust Limited, partner in the FRIENDS project, and Stichting Maharishi Onderwijs Nederland.

In UK: Maharishi School Trust Limited (see http://maharishischool.com) is a UK state-funded Academy/Free School providing education to students from ages 4 to 16 through separate primary and secondary schools. Maharishi School’s maxim is “The World is My Family” and  students from all backgrounds are welcome to join the school community, developing their own full potential through daily Transcendental Meditation practice.

In the Netherlands: The purpose of Maharishi Onderwijs Nederland is to have schools where all the children enjoy Quiet Time with Transcendental meditation.

Both schools are non-religious, non-denominational and non-selective welcoming all pupils of all cultures, nationalities, and religions. The aspect of learning of curriculum content, (i.e. what you know) is important in each school, but a Maharishi School also puts a strong emphasis on the knowledge of who you are – and how you can develop this from the quietness within yourself.

The two schools have been also  partners of another EU project called EUROPE – “Ensuring Unity and Respect as Outcomes for the people of Europe” funded by Erasmus+ KA3 and implemented in public schools in three European countries: Portugal, Sweden and the Netherlands. The project’s aim was to upscale and assess the relevance, impact, and scalability of the Quiet Time/TM approach, and disseminate its results and benefits, more specifically as an instrument to prevent violence and violent radicalisation and to promote social inclusion in different European contexts.

In 2017, the UK Government’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) assessed Maharishi School and gave it the highest rating, ‘Outstanding’, for personal development, behaviour and welfare.

In relation to the objectives of the FRIENDS project, the report states: “Children behave well and show respect for each other. They understand about taking turns and helping when a classmate is struggling or upset. … Pupils’ attitudes and behaviours are outstanding. They are very keen to learn, they listen well and are able to express their carefully considered views respectfully. Pupils care for each other and make a major contribution to ensuring that their school is cohesive, safe and orderly. Pupils are happy and content.” (Maharishi School Trust Limited UK, 2017: Assessment by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills in the United Kingdom, publication on  local newspaper, the Champion, 20th December 2017, p6.   https://www.champnews.com/papers/pdf/K5117.pdf).

Transcendental Meditation’s Application in other fields

During its 60 years of history, TM has been implemented in various social contexts:

Prisons

TM has also had a very positive  effect in the prison sector. For example, in the “Freedom Behind the Barriers through the Practice of Transcendental Meditation” project, inmates of Belluno prison in Italy learned TM in February 1995. The project was authorised by the supervisory authorities of Venice; and funded by local authorities at provincial and municipal level, and by the Foundation of the former Cassa di Risparmio of Verona (now Unicredit).

Transcendental Meditation and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD

The Transcendental Meditation Association participated in the “XIII Conference of the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS)”on the 20th anniversary of ESTSS’s constitution. On this occasion, it was presented the scientific research study, “Transcending trauma: effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation practice for combating PTSD”.

Extreme forms of stress can cause extreme levels of harm to the human mind and body, triggering a condition called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

People who suffer from PTSD include war veterans, victims of violent crimes, rape or abuse, victims of accidents or natural disasters, or people who have lived through some other radical stressful situation.

After such events, the brain may switch to a hyper-vigilant mode in which one constantly expects a threat to one’s own life at all times

Individuals with PTSD suffer from poor sleep, develop memory and decision-making problems, distrust others and often fall into the trap of substance abuse in their attempts to self-medicate. While traditional therapies have often failed to help such individuals, Transcendental Meditation has turned out to be a promising cure.

The research “Transcending trauma: effectiveness on transcendental meditation practice for combating PTSD” showed how TM practice contributed to reducing post-traumatic stress disorders and giving benefits in alleviating the related symptoms.

study of Vietnam War veterans (see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1810367/) suffering from PTSD demonstrated that after three months of practising the Transcendental Meditation technique, symptoms such as alcohol usage, high startle response, emotional numbness and anxiety decreased as compared to a control group who received only psychotherapy. Research indicates that Transcendental Meditation has a positive effect on problems that often arise in PTSD sufferers, such as hypertensiondepression, and substance abuse.

Recovery from PTSD usually takes some time, but adding relaxation techniques such as Transcendental Meditation, has been found to speed up the whole rehabilitating process.