Meditation enhances social-emotional learning in middle school students

The findings indicate the value of implementing meditation to enhance social-emotional learning and decrease psychological distress in middle school students.


A growing literature describes the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL) for student social behavior, academic performance, and emotional health. One broadly executed school program, the meditation as a part of the Quiet Time program, has been appealed to improve factors related with SEL, including positive emotional and behavioral coping skills, resilience and self-actualization.

Middle school students practicing meditation could get benefitted by having significant improvements in social-emotional competencies and psychological distress.

Laurent Valosek, the study’s lead author and Executive Director of the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education said, “There’s a strong body of research supporting the clear value of developing social-emotional competency for students. Middle school is an especially formative time and poses a major opportunity to provide students with the tools to develop positive social relationships, responsible decision-making, and healthy behaviors. We’re encouraged by the results demonstrating the value of a Quiet Time program to enhance social-emotional learning and mental health in middle school students.”

Social-emotional learning includes Competencies like self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and goal-directed behavior. Having such skills help students perform better academically and enjoy enhanced emotional and social well being.

During the study, scientists compared over a four-month period 51 sixth-grade students who took part in a Quiet Time program with a twice-daily practice of Transcendental Meditation to 50 students from a matched control school within the same West Coast urban public school district.

The study found a significant increase in overall social-emotional competency in the Quiet Time group compared to controls. The effects were particularly pronounced with high-risk subgroups, which experienced a significant increase in social-emotional competency and a significant decrease in negative emotional symptoms compared to controls.

Results on the individual items indicate improvement in the Quiet Time group compared to controls in the areas of decision-making, goal-directed behavior, personal responsibility, relationship skills, and optimistic thinking.

The investigation utilized the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) Mini teacher rating scale for surveying social-emotional competence. It likewise utilized the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) Emotional Symptoms scale. One strength of the investigation is its utilization of the DESSA to acquire a teacher rating of understudy social-passionate abilities, as opposed to depending entirely on understudy self-report.

These outcomes have suggestions for schools hoping to execute proof based projects for understudy social-emotional learning and mental health.

The study is published in the journal Education.

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