Foundation & Design Research
The Luster Learning Institute collects and uses quantitative and qualitative data to measure the success of the Calm Classroom program. We evaluate pre and post Calm Classroom disciplinary data AND teacher viewpoint data.
Calm Classroom has been proven to increase student engagement, improve attendance and academic performance, and decrease suspensions and behavioral referrals.
School studies show that when Calm Classroom is implemented with consistent school-wide fidelity it makes a measurable positive impact. Specific programmatic evidence include:*
- 21% overall improvement in standardized test scores
- 75% decline in school violence
- 73% decrease in school suspensions
- 10% increase in attendance
- 65% of teachers surveyed report feeling less personal stress on the job as a result of Calm Classroom
- 100% of teachers surveyed report:
- Students are more focused and ready to learn after we practice Calm Classroom
- Students seem calmer and more peaceful after we practice Calm Classroom.
- 94% of teachers surveyed report specific students whose engagement in school seems to have improved due to Calm Classroom.
*Chicago Public Schools: Samuel Gompers Elementary and Middle School, Sullivan High School, Wendell Smith Elementary and Middle School
- View a sample of our teacher viewpoint surveys that measure fidelity of the program and student, teacher, and administrator perception of benefits.
- View an additional report containing information from both the school disciplinary records, and student, teacher, and administrator viewpoint feedback.
The Calm Classroom curriculum and school‐wide program was originally developed based on two Harvard Medical School studies conducted by Dr. Herbert Benson. The first study examined the relationship between relaxation response activities implemented in middle school classrooms and positive academic and behavioral student outcomes. Benson’s study concluded that by having teachers facilitate students in specialized techniques that elicit the relaxation response (the release of chemicals in the body and brain that lowers stress, causes muscles and organs to slow down, and increases blood flow to the brain), positive student outcomes will occur. The outcomes included: increases between 10% and 25% in student GPA, cooperative behavior, and work habit ratings each year as the study progressed.
Benson, H., Wilcher, M. (2000). Academic performance among middle school students after exposure to a relaxation response curriculum. Journal of Research and Development in Education 33(3), 156-165.
Full Research Report »
Within the second study, self-esteem and locus of control were evaluated in a group of high school students prior to, during and following a single academic year. Students were exposed to either a health curriculum (three times per week) based on elicitation of the relaxation response, or to a control health curriculum and then the relaxation response-based curriculum. These exposures resulted in significant increases in self-esteem and a tendency toward greater internal locus of control scores. Furthermore, teacher observations indicated a high degree of student acceptance of relaxation response training. These results suggest the incorporation of the relaxation response into a high school curricula may be a practical and efficient way to increase positive psychological attitudes.
Benson, H., Kornhaber, A., Kornhaber, C., LeChanu, M. N., Zuttermeister, P. C., Myers, P., & Friedman, R. (1994). Increases in positive psychological characteristics with a new relaxation-response curriculum in high school students. Journal of Research and Development in Education. 27 (4), 226-231.
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These studies were aligned with the decades of research that has generated a knowledge-base that can be utilized to promote students emotional competence and to aid in the development of these competencies. However, until recently, neither teacher pre-service or in-service programs have utilized this rich source of material to help promote these social-emotional processes in teachers as well as the students. The Calm Classroom program has continued to produce these same outcomes, as well as additional, remarkable results. Although the rigor and depth of the High School study did not match the Middle School analysis, both of these studies contributed to the development of the Calm Classroom model and the resulting success of the Calm Classroom curriculum. The original modeling of the Calm Classroom on the Harvard research combined with a school-wide implementation strategy and ongoing data collection, have made Calm Classroom a continuing success in the schools it serves.
More recently, new brain-based research has been exploring cognitive changes in children and its relationship to the practice of mindfulness meditation techniques. The actual mindfulness protocols are the same methods that were implemented by the relaxation response studies (above) that Dr. Herbert Benson conducted.