Press & Reviews

 Edutopia: At the Movies: Films Focused on Education Reform

There's been quite a bit of buzz about documentary films that take a look at issues within the American education system. Whether you agree with the point of view of any of these films or not, they are sure to get you thinking. (Updated: 2/2014)

 

Room to Breathe Review

Video Librarian 
July/August 2013  (Volume 28, Issue 4)

In Room to Breathe, filmmaker Russell Long illustrates how San Francisco’s Marina Middle School used mindfulness training to help one class of underachievers learn to “be comfortable when they are not being entertained,” and also be self-reflective. School administrators also hoped to develop a culture allowing Latino and African-American kids in particular to feel that they were part of something and valued at the school. Footage from a seventh-grade math and science class shows the chaos that prevailed before the training—students constantly bicker, gossip, throw things, walk around, and even leave the classroom. A therapist from Mindful Schools, a serene young woman named Megan Cowan, is at first unable to engage the boisterous group in meditative exercises, but after a few disruptive youngsters are excused, those who remain follow along and eventually some even lead the sessions. Long films close-up in the classroom and on school grounds, while also documenting frank conversations between apathetic young people and their parents, the latter wishing their offspring appreciated their educational opportunities. The documentary focuses on two Latinas and two African-American boys who have struggled with schoolwork and behavioral problems; all four had better grades and fewer disciplinary issues after mindfulness instruction. DVD extras include brief comments from six students and extended interviews with three experts. Recommended. Aud: C, P. (M. Puffer-Rothenberg)

 
"Recommended. Illustrates how San Francisco’s Marina Middle School used mindfulness training to help one class of underachievers learn to 'be comfortable when they are not being entertained,' and also be self-reflective."
– Video Librarian

 

 Zen and the art of succeeding in school

Great Schools Blog
May 22, 2013

 

The Education Issue: Believing self-control predicts success, schools teach coping
Washington Post
April 11, 2013

 

Episode 145: Russell Long
The Secular Buddhist (official podcast of the Secular Buddhist Association)
November 30, 2012

 

Room To Breathe: From Chaos to Peace in the Classroom
Making Contact, National Radio Project
November 27, 2012

 

"Room to Breathe"
La French TV
October 25, 2012

 

"Meditation Creates a Little Breathing Space for San Francisco Students"
Huffington Post
October 19, 2012

 

"How to make kids listen to their minds"
Sydney Morning Herald
October 12, 2012

 

 

General Information on Social and Emotional Learning