17 June 2007

oh. my. god...

[well, he/she is actually not mine...]

Wingnuts are going to have a field day with this...

In the Classroom, a New Focus on Quieting the Mind
As summer looms, students at dozens of schools across the country are trying hard to be in the present moment. This is what is known as mindfulness training, in which stress-reducing techniques drawn from Buddhist meditation are wedged between reading and spelling tests.

Mindfulness, while common in hospitals, corporations, professional sports and even prisons, is relatively new in the education of squirming children. But a small but growing number of schools in places like Oakland and Lancaster, Pa., are slowly embracing the concept — as they did yoga five years ago — and institutions, like the psychology department at Stanford University and the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, are trying to measure the effects.
New York Times, June 17, 2007

And for two reasons.
  1. with progressives and activist judges keeping religion out of the schools, they'll see this as direct affront to their efforts to put it back in and
  2. it's not christian!
oh, my...

If you read the article from the NYT, you will notice that the focus of mindfulness is really only on the meditative techniques by having students focus on calming the thoughts in their minds that may get in the way of learning and study. There is no reference to any religious beliefs at all.

Meditation according to Wikipedia is a state of concentrated attention on some object of thought or awareness. It usually involves turning the attention inward to the mind itself. Before christianists get their skirts all in a bunch, not only are certain forms of prayer considered meditation, but there is reference to it in the Old Testament:
"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it, then you will be prosperous and successful." (Joshua 1:8)

Having worked with kids for almost 40 years, I understand the myriad of things that go round and round in their heads. When you come to school after watching your mother's boyfriend hit her in the head, when you have to deal with the shooting on the block over the weekend, when you live with 10 other people in a small apartment, when your father just lost a $150,000 job, when your stomach is growling because you didn't have breakfast, how can you expect to have a clear mind to learn that ∏ = 3.414 or that Manifest Destiny was the governement's policy in the early 19th century that believe that the U.S. was destined to expand from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans? AND what difference will knowing these things make in your life anyway?

I say, "What ever works." Anyone who limits their experience and thinking to only one way is poor not only in judgment but also in humanity...

The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity.
And the ways our differences combine
to create meaning and beauty.

Spock and Miranda, Is There in Truth No Beauty?

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