Attention Mayor Bloomberg:
…and the Academy Award for Best Documentary Goes to a Feel-Great Film That Demonstrates Life Changes at Concord High School After students learn Mindfulness techniques
The other night a schoolteacher friend dragged me to a moving and mind-blowing screening of an important documentary: Changing Minds at Concord High School. The documentary traces a one-year experiment in an at-risk Staten Island New York school. Scientists and meditation expert Susan Finley showed what can happen when students
These previously low-performing children markedly increased their ability to concentrate on learning and in so doing raised their self acceptance. One after another solemnly reports that now they feel they can do almost anything.
Susan Finley and Harvard and Hunter College scientists and student research assistants set up three student groups. The first group was trained to meditate for three minutes at the beginning of class. The second placebo group simply sat still for three minutes. The last group did nothing.
The students in the mindfulness group tell us in juicy vernacular of their resistance to emptying their minds and focussing on their breathing.
At the end of the experiment, many of these students report astonishing results. They proudly wear caps and gowns–previously having failed to graduate high school. Their testimony rings with solemn pride in learning about “brain plasticity” and seeing the results of creating new neural pathways in their brains.
Mayor Bloomberg wants to set up schools in Manhattan. He must see this documentary and the idealists who made it should work in his schools.