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To meditate and cogitate

THE phrase "I wish I'd paid more attention in school" is an all-too-common one:

some utter it in jest, but many of us say it in all seriousness and with a genuine sense of regret. And for many of today's youngsters in this world of mobiles, tablets, social media and other distractions, a lack of concentration can be a major problem.

It will be interesting therefore to examine the results of a pilot scheme in which pupils at three primary schools are being taught ancient techniques of meditation derived from Buddhism, known as mindfulness.

Pupils are being taught how to concentrate by focusing on their breathing rather than random thoughts or distractions. They then learn how to make decisions in a controlled and responsible way and not to respond to more immediate emotional impulses. The techniques are aimed at helping pupils develop qualities such as kindness, awareness, and resilience.

One headteacher said pupils were calmer and more focused and reflective. This is to be welcomed. When it comes to schooling, and life in general, taking time to think is rarely a bad thing.

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