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New CFT Guide on Contemplative Pedagogy

Posted by on Monday, September 6, 2010 in News.

As part of the CFT’s ongoing work on contemplative pedagogy, including a Contemplative Pedagogy “working group” open to faculty and graduate students, we’ve developed a new contemplative pedagogy teaching guide. The guide includes a discussion of contemplation’s role in teaching and a variety of contemplative activities for the classroom, including guided meditation, listening, beholding, journaling, and silence. The guide also links to local and national resources on contemplative pedagogy.

Here’s an excerpt:

Contemplative pedagogy involves teaching methods designed to cultivate deepened awareness, concentration, and insight.  Contemplation fosters additional ways of knowing that complement the rational methods of traditional liberal arts education.  As Tobin Hart suggests, “inviting the contemplative simply includes the natural human capacity for knowing through silence, looking inward, pondering deeply, beholding, witnessing the contents of our consciousness….  These approaches cultivate an inner technology of knowing….”  This cultivation is the aim of contemplative pedagogy, teaching that includes methods “designed to quiet and shift the habitual chatter of the mind to cultivate a capacity for deepened awareness, concentration, and insight.”  Such methods include journals, music, art, poetry, dialogue, questions, and guided meditation.

In the classroom, these forms of inquiry are not employed as religious practices but as pedagogical techniques for learning through refined attention or mindfulness.  Research confirms that these contemplative forms of inquiry can offset the constant distractions of our multi-tasking, multi-media culture.  Thus, creative teaching methods that integrate the ancient practice of contemplation innovatively met the particular needs of today’s students.

Image: “Arashiyama: Sagano Bamboo Grove” by Flickr user jpellgen, Creative Commons licensed

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