Trendy “mindfulness” classes springing up in schools across the country have no proven benefits, according to a new study.
The report suggests that the practice, a popular lifestyle activity among some adults, could even be harming the development of some children.
Mindfulness – a set of teachings derived from Buddhism and focused on meditation – has become popular in education circles in recent years.
It claims to improve the well-being and mental health of practitioners – but a major review of the available evidence found little proof that it works in the classroom.
A report by the Campbell Collaboration think tank analysed 61 previous studies of classroom mindfulness from around the world.
It concluded that, though there was a “small” amount of evidence that it improved children’s mental health, there was nothing to suggest this had any knock-on effects on academic performance – i.e. the main point of going to school.
In some cases, it said, the mindfulness process could even damage the mental health of children involved – something which nobody has yet sufficiently researched.
At the same time, the classes are chewing up huge amounts of school time – not to mention money – which could otherwise be devoted to actual studying.
Urging “caution” before expanding the programs further, the authors said: “there is a lack of evidence of effects on academic and behavioral outcomes. Moreover, we know little about the costs and adverse effects of school-based mindfulness interventions. The costs of implementing these programs may not be justified, and there are some indications that MBIs may have some adverse effects on children and youth that have not received adequate attention.”
Featured image via YouTube/GoZenOnline