The EUROPE project focused on the implementation in a broader European context of a novel approach, known as the Quiet Time programme based on Transcendental Meditation (Quiet Time/TM) for schools, having the potential to contribute to National and European strategies in answer to the Paris Declaration (1, 2), being a whole-school proven approach for promoting social inclusion, tolerance, non-discrimination, personal development and other factors that prevent violent extremism, and leading to a mainstreaming roadmap for evidence based policy actions/guidance at European and National level, thus helping to foster the role of education in promoting equality, social cohesion, nurturing mutual respect and embedding fundamental values in society.
This original, unconventional, pioneering, learner-centred approach in the field of education, training and youth, addressed the root-cause of negative attitudes and violence and promoted tolerance amongst diverse populations by promoting the psycho-physiological well-being of students, including those with disadvantaged backgrounds, and by allowing the experience of profound inner peace and calmness, thereby providing participants with the unifying experience of the source of all diversity. The Quiet Time/TM programme is easy to implement at all levels of education, easy to learn and religion and philosophy neutral.
The general objective of the EUROPE project have been to upscale, assess the relevance, impact and scalability and disseminate the Quiet Time/TM approach in different European contexts.
The specific objective of the EUROPE project have been to adapt and transfer the chosen good practice, in 3 countries (Nederland, Sweden, and Portugal) targeting schools with minority students or those with disadvantaged or migrant background.
The main activities of the project have been:
- Implementation of the Quiet Time/TM programme in the schools in a European context.
- Assessing the ability of the Quiet Time/TM programme to:
– create an inclusive learning environment and reducing violence
– support teachers and other educators in dealing with the increasing diversity of learners
- Evaluating the Quiet Time/TM programme from a policy development perspective by providing evidence that it is sound and practical.
- Disseminating findings of the implementation and the evaluation framework to support trans-national cooperation between the partners involved in the project and European ministries, policy makers, and key stakeholders interested in the outcome of the project, creating awareness about the Quiet Time/TM programme and the established support structures and offerings.
- Drawing policy conclusions through international cooperation including MoEs, leading to a manual of best practices and a mainstreaming roadmap for evidence-based policy guidance.
- Establishing sustained support structures, including a European expert centre for the implementation of the Quiet Time/TM programme.
The specific target groups of the EUROPE project were:
- Students: In particular disadvantaged students from the age of 10 to the end of secondary education, targeting schools with a high percentage of disadvantaged students, including students with lower learning outcomes and those with migrant and minority
- Teachers and teaching staff, a significant number of whom show a high level of stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout.
- Wider school community: being the Quiet Time/TM programme a whole school approach, the final beneficiary of the project were all students, including students with lower learning outcomes and with disadvantaged social backgrounds.
- Policy Makers in school education
- Education sector at national level
COMMUNITY OF STAKEHOLDERS
- Youth/students networks and associations
- Heads associations
- Parents associations, school service providers
- Civil society organizations
- Other organizations working in the education sector
- Organizations working with migrants.
Scientific community, policy makers, including of fields other than education- including governmental specialists – stakeholders and interested professionals (i.e. teachers, principals, board members), Students associations, Heads associations, Parents associations, universities, education institutions, youth/students networks, organizations working with migrants and general public.
- Quiet Time/TM programme implemented and evaluated in Holland, Sweden and Portugal involving a total of 520 students, 350 teachers and staff and 110 parents.
- Reports of the evaluation of benefits:
– for students: from all psychological measures considered in our study, encompassing stress, anxiety, resilience, satisfaction with life, and coping strategies, results seem to be focused on three dimensions. Students seem to be less anxious about being humiliated, using less anxious coping strategies and more resilient concerning their cooperation skills. Also, the qualitative assessment of the TM’s impact corroborates the quantitative results: students refer to be calmer, less anxious and with more available personal resources to manage negative affects. They feel TM allows them to be more focus and relate it to an improvement of school achievement.
– for teachers: if we look at the totality of the results of the quantitative and qualitative study for teachers conducted in the EUROPE project, QT/TM has shown to provide significant contribution on decreasing of stress, negative effects and burnout in school teachers, and simultaneously on increasing job satisfaction, optimism, positive effects and well-being.
– for the whole school community: atmosphere at school, inclusive learning environment, more peace, more cooperation, less episodes of violence and bullying.
- Scientific Articles were published in specialized journals, websites and were presented in seminars and congresses for bringing awareness of the Quiet Time/TM programme and the project results and evaluation.
- A Handbook with policy recommendations together with a best practicesand road map have been developed to guide policy makers in the implementation and upscaling of the Quiet Time/TM programme in different countries.
- Online support infrastructures were created together with interest communities, involving teachers, head teachers, pedagogical coordinators, parent representatives from schools, students’ associations, heads associations, parents associations, policy makers and other interested stakeholders at grass root level to keep them up-to-date through all the channels of dissemination about the results and get them acquainted with the approach of implementing Quiet Time/TM within schools.
- Sustained support structures were created, including an European expert centre, centred around the Teacher Training Centre of Algarve in Portugal and including the evaluation and implementation coordinating team of the EUROPE project with International experts in the implementation of the QT/TM programme in schools.
Long Term Systemic Impact
The EUROPE project aimed to stimulate policy actions that will have a measurable quantitative systemic impact on education, not only in the countries with partners involved in this project, but also in other European countries. The long term aim is to create a system of education in Europe where every student can realize his or her full potential in an inclusive school environment.
In fact, the benefits of the Quiet Time/TM programme will reach far beyond migrant, minority and disadvantaged learners, but to all students because this approach includes the whole school community, thereby also impacting the system of education on a qualitative level, with all students, teachers, staff, administrators, parents, and the whole community benefiting from the effects. In addition, the programme is applicable to all levels of education, including ECEC, primary, secondary, upper secondary, second chance, VET, adult education, youth field, and entrepreneurship education.