A discussion and exploration of contemplative pedagogy described by in Contemplative Practices in Higher Education by Daniel Barzebat and Mirabai Bush
Academy for Teaching Excellence
Harper College, Nov 13, 20015
PRACTICES DESCRIBED IN THE BOOK
Mindfulness p. 97
Lectio Divina p. 115
Contemplative Writing p. 133
Sound Meditation p.139
Mindful Listening p. 144-5
Walking p. 161
Lovingkindness p. 179
Related links and images
What is Mindfulness?
What is the science of mindfulness?
A short video summary:
An fMRI study with college students (Creswell, Way, Eisenberger, and Lieberman, 2007) found that those higher in MAAS-measured dispositionalmindfulness showed less reactivity to emotionally threatening visual stimuli, as indexed by lower amygdala activation, as well as stronger prefrontal cortical (PFC) activation, suggestive of better executive control. More mindful students also showed a stronger inhibitory association between PFC and amygdala, suggesting better regulation of emotional reactions. Other recent research has shown that induced mindful states can produce a quicker recovery from negative mood states, in comparison to other, common regulatory strategies like distraction and rumination (Broderick, 2005)
– “Toward the Integration of Meditation into Higher Education: A Review of Research Evidence” published Contemplative Mind in Society (2008), republished under same title in Teachers’ College Record 113. 3 (2011) : 493-528
Benefits of Meditation for Attention
- improves attentional performance
- increased efficiency of networks recruited during the attention and impulse control
- meditation may change brain morphology and function, particularly in areas related to attention and response selection
[Source: “Meditation training increases brain efficiency in an attention task,” <em>Neuroimage </em>59 (2012): 745-9]
EXERCISE IN BEHOLDING & CONTEMPLATIVE WRITING
Contemplate this image. What ideas/thoughts/feelings/memories arise in your mind as you examine this picture? Write for 10 minutes in as much detail as possible.
ASSESSMENT: SEEKING STUDENT FEEDBACK
Blackboard can be used to do short surveys of the contemplative practices employed. Sample questions:
- What is your opinion about the short focusing periods we have been doing at the beginning of our class meetings?
- How do you feel during those two minute breaks?
- Would you want them longer, shorter, or completely gone?
Administered as an add-on to a quiz in Blackboard
– Jon Brammer, Three Rivers Community College, CT
Results of Assessment
“I had 23 students respond-everyone in the section- and the responses were generally very good. 21/23 liked the brief “chill time” periods, but they were mixed in terms of wanting them longer. I would guess there were 6-7 who wanted the time increased to five minutes or more. No student thought they should be shorter than the two minutes.
Of the two folks who didn’t see any benefit, one thought it was a waste of time and the other was completely neutral.” – via email from J. Brammer
VIDEO GREETING FROM AUTHORS
We will now take some to write contemplatively in response to Dan and Mirabai’s questions. What would you like to tell them about your experience with their book? Your answers will posted on this website and be made available to the authors.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Conferences and Intensive Training
- Summer Session on Contemplative Pedagogy. A week-long intensive held every August at Smith College, Northampton, MA http://www.contemplativemind.org/programs/summer
- Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education Conference. http://www.contemplativemind.org/programs/conferences
- International Symposium for Contemplative Studies (emphasis on neuroscience): http://www.iscs2014.org/
- Advances in Meditation Research: http://meditation2015.com/ (neuroscience/medical)
Join the Contemplative Mind in Society for updates and webinars: http://www.contemplativemind.org/