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The Possible Learning and Teaching Benefits of Short Mind-calming Exercises in Undergraduate Courses

Meditation and its associated benefits are an ever-growing area of research. As more and more advantages are shown to be had from meditative practice, so the field of research is expanding. This field of study has seemingly not yet found its way to college and university campuses. In this research paper, Professor Paul Grogan examines the potential benefits to college and university students of a brief period of mindfulness meditation at the beginning of a lecture.

For this project a number of students in second, third, and fourth-year biology undergraduate courses were asked to voluntarily participate in a short, three minute, mind-calming meditation session at the beginning of their classes. They were then given a detailed, anonymous, and voluntary survey that used carefully worded and value based statements to determine how useful they judged the meditation practice to be.

The survey contained questions on whether the students enjoyed the meditative practices, whether they felt that these practices were beneficial to them in their studies, and whether they considered these practices to be a useful life skill.

Across these courses, the responses were overwhelmingly positive. A large number of the students (ranging from 73% to 93%) found the mediation practice to be valuable for a variety of reasons. It is still unclear if this practice is actually beneficial to the students, but many of the students perceived it to be so, to the point that the university-based student course assessment was significantly higher for this course than in previous years in which no mind-calming exercises took place.

These quantitative results seem to indicate that there would be multiple direct and indirect benefits associated with the regular use of such practices.

Read more about this project.