Dr. Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan
Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning
by Daniel P. Barbezat and Mirabai Bush
Description: Contemplative studies is an emerging field in higher education, although the practices are used in just about every discipline—from physics to economics to history—and are found in every type of institution. Liberal arts colleges and universities across disciplinary fields, which have employed CS on the pedagogical and research levels, have engaged students in both 3rd person (traditional methods) and 1st person (applied or experiential) learning and teaching inquiries in order to better address goals like critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, creativity, increased and/or focused attention, empathy, and personal empowerment. Examples of contemplative techniques included in the book are mindfulness, meditation, yoga, deep listening, contemplative reading and writing, and pilgrimage, including site visits and field trips. This type of initiative in diverse models that occurs in the form of either separate programs, majors or minors has the potential for building bridges among disciplinary divisions, enhance what we as educators do in the classroom, and also transform what we do in more effective or different ways. The reading group will also read excerpts of other relevant materials to fill in gaps in the book.