Inner city schools across the nation are in serious trouble. In many cities, about half of high school students drop out, and a similar percentage of teachers leave after just five years in the profession.
ROOM TO BREATHE explores one promising solution that has been tested in several dozen public schools - a self-regulatory technique called mindfulness that increases kids' focus and concentration, self-awareness and impulse control.
The film presents a hopeful story of transformation, following a young mindfulness teacher, Megan Cowan, as she spends several months attempting to teach the technique to troubled kids in a San Francisco public middle school that tops the district in disciplinary suspensions.
Confronted by defiance and contempt, Cowan at first runs into substantial difficulties in the classroom. But under her guidance, the students begin to learn the technique and eventually use it to take greater control over their lives, decrease stress, and better focus in class and at home.
Based on the experiences depicted in the film, as well as results at other schools and independent academic studies, the mindfulness technique appears to have broad potential to significantly improve kids' social interactions with peers and adults, to reduce bullying and violence, and to improve academic performance and graduation rates.
"ROOM TO BREATHE has drawn national attention to mindfulness...perhaps the fastest-growing technique in classrooms for teaching self-control." - Washington Post
If you are a student or a professor:Watch now
If you are a librarian or a professor: