These are times when calm reigns in the classroom. Each student being, at the request of his teacher, listening to his breathing, his body, or his inner landscape. Said like that, it’s hard to see a reason to worry, quite the contrary. Especially since the defenders of mindfulness meditation in schools praise its benefits: attention, calm, self-confidence. From which would even result for some a peaceful climate, a reduction in violence and harassment, or even a reduction in social inequalities.
Several tens of thousands of students already concerned
According to the Association for Meditation in Education (AME), 23,000 students have benefited since 2015 from programs integrating mindfulness. And the LREM deputy for Ille-et-Vilaine, Gaël Le Bohec wishes today to generalize them. “We can see that there are already a very large number of teachers who practice this meditation in their classes, or use these tools. Sometimes they are a little ‘challenged’ by their inspector or their hierarchy. The goal is to put them at ease with a precise and determined framework”he told France Inter.
This would also allow, continues the chosen one, to encourage those who hesitate to embark on this adventure. To push for the implementation of this framework, Gaël Le Bohec submitted a report at the beginning of January to the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, with a view tolarger-scale experimentation mindfulness meditation in the classroom. The Scientific Council of National Education “is currently working on an in-depth analysis of international data on this topic“, specifies the ministry.
The League of Human Rights worries
But this practice raises questions. About fifteen associations and unions have written to the ministry to express their concern about possible abuses.. Among the signatories the League of Human Rights, that of Education, the federation of parents of FCPE students or even Unsa Education, of which Stéphanie De Vanssay is a member.
For the one who deals particularly with questions of meditation or spirituality in establishments, you have to be very vigilant, “first of all because, it is said little, but there are contraindications to this practice of mindfulness. And especially for people with depression. The case of depressed students should not worsen because of this meditation at school. And then meditation comes from Buddhism, there could be spiritual or religious drifts. Finally, when I hear that it could reduce inequalities at school, I find that we are not far from the magic promises made in alternative medicine where we take a simple element that will solve all the problems“.
While the pandemic has weakened many young people, we must remain vigilant, continues Stéphanie de Vanssay. Vigilance also advocated by the Mission for the fight against sects (Miviludes) on one point: who will give these workshops? With what training and what controls?
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Meditation at school worries associations and unions
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