FRIENDS Kick-Off-Meeting, Città di Castello – Italy
Launch of the project with a live debate between all FRIENDS partners for a final review and agreement of the implementation work plan and discussion of the next step.
Preparation for the implementation in schools
Beginning of the programme implementation in schools and in other non-formal educational settings with information sessions on the Quiet Time/TM programme offered to school and community members (administrators, teachers, staff, parents’ association, local authorities, etc.).
Pre-test and training of school staff: administrators and teachers
Pre-testing of school administrators and teachers as part of a four-month longitudinal study; measuring their level of anxiety, job satisfaction and subjective well-being before the implementation of the Quiet Time/TM programme.
Training the teachers in the Quiet Time/TM programme.
Parents’ information sessions
A series of parent information meetings is held by the school with the teachers of, and experts in, the TM technique; the Quiet Time/TM programme is explained and open sessions of questions & answers contribute for collecting parents’ inputs.
Pre-test and training of students
Training of students who start practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique during the Quiet Time periods. During the FRIENDS project, this training took place in more than 40 places: clusters of schools, individual schools and non-formal educational settings, in four countries (Portugal, Italy, UK and Belgium).
A subset of students receiving training is selected for the research. The students participating in the research are pre-tested and after about three months, post-tested with standardised tests. A second subset of students forms a control group, following an experimental design protocol. After post-test, the control group also starts the QT/TM training.
Learning communities are established at local, regional and national levels in the partner countries. Face-to-face meetings are held between partners, associated partners and key stakeholders interested in the project in order to exchange knowledge and experience of the project benefits and results and to disseminate the Quiet Time/TM approach.
Seminars and Meetings
Face-to-face dissemination meetings are organised, in combination with consortium meetings, to allow the participation and contribution of all partners from Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Spain and UK and of other interested stakeholders from different European countries.
Project results are presented in relevant events at local, regional, national and European level and workshops organised for interested stakeholders in each partner country.
Post-test of school staff: administrators and teachers
Post-testing of the participating administrators, teachers, and school staff takes place. These data have been analysed and show the impact of the Quiet Time/TM programme on measures such as anxiety, job satisfaction and subjective well-being. (See results in D5.5 and D6.9)
Students ‘delayed’ start group
The students’ control group is also trained in the Quiet Time/TM programme after the first stage of the research is completed.
Post-test of students
Both the experimental group and the control group, are post-tested. These data were analysed and show the impact of the Quiet Time/TM programme on students in relation to measures such as increased resilience, vitality, personal realisation and subjective well-being; and in the field of behaviour and interpersonal relationships, decreased disruptive behaviour, decrease in children’s relationship problems and behavioural control problems.
Final assessment of the schools’ environment
Assessing the schools’ overall environment after the end of the testing process. This includes teachers’ satisfaction and motivation, personal and academic results and achievements, and pro-social outcomes.
Empirical data collection and overall conclusions
Reporting the results related to the:
(a) Training of administrators, teachers and staff (e.g. anxiety and job satisfaction)
(b) Training of the students (results of both experimental and control group),
(c) Assessment of the overall schools’ environment
Policy Making Framework and recommendations for the Quiet Time/TM programme
A key instrument developed during the project is the Policy Making Framework (PMF), which allows interested parties across Europe to customise the outputs of the FRIENDS project for their local context.
This framework provides material and guidance for successful policy development, implementation, and follow-up, to promote policies addressing the development of holistic approaches to education aimed at every child’s comprehensive development, encompassing personal, social, cultural academic, emotional and non-cognitive aspects.
FRIENDS final conference in Brussels
The Final European Conference was held in Brussels, with the active participation of about 130 people, including policy makers, principals, teachers, students and parents, representatives of non-formal education, TM providers, and other stakeholders interested in the Quiet Time with Transcendental Meditation approach and inclusive education, from more than 15 European countries. Its central aim was to showcase project results and field experiences from the FRIENDS implementation, together with evidence-based policy recommendations for the implementation of Quiet Time/TM programmes in a wider contexts.
Project sustainability: the project continues...
- TM teachers participating in the project are available for new training, continuous follow-up and additional instructions for students and staff in schools
- Teacher training centres offering the training courses in TM to principals teachers and staff as professional training accredited to their careers
- Establishment and continuous enrichment of the FRIENDS research database
- Local learning communities involving parents, schools actors and policy makers at different territorial levels fostering the continuous scaling up of the programme with the engagement of new schools
- TM teaching centres providing on-going assistance and continuous support to promote the expansion of the project on a wider European scale
- Project partners maintaining and updating their channels of dissemination such as websites, Facebook pages and YouTube channels in English, Portuguese, Dutch, French, Spanish and Italian for the exploitation of FRIENDS results in other contexts