Let's say that you used to begin class with a moment of silence. Or perhaps you incorporated some other elements of mindfulness or contemplative pedagogy into your teaching.
Did those practices survive the transition to remote teaching this semester? Perhaps they fell by the wayside in the rush to get "up to speed" with unfamiliar technology.
It takes a special effort to bring mindfulness to the classroom when the classroom is a virtual construct. However, in this unsettled and uncertain time, the lessons of mindfulness would seem to be more important than ever. Furthermore, the online environment can often add an extra layer that separates the student from learning even more than in a traditional classroom. Practices that connect to our basic humanity are arguably even more important when teaching in a context mediated entirely by electronic technology.
A conversation between Emily McIntire, Roxane Chan, and Bart Everson on teaching, learning, and simulating poverty to stimulate compassion.
Emily McIntire has a master’s degree in nursing with a focus on nursing education and is the director of the simulation laboratory at Michigan State University. She is working toward her PhD in Nursing Science to research best educational practices in nursing education design and delivery.
Roxane Raffin Chan received her PhD from the University of Michigan and is a board-certified advanced holistic nurse. She researches using mindfulness interventions for persons with chronic disease.
Both Roxane and Emily are recipients of the Billie Diane Gamble Undergraduate Faculty Teaching Excellence/Enrichment Award.
Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths.
Check out the original research that started Roxane and Emily on the contemplative pathway in the college of nursing:
Participatory action inquiry using baccalaureate nursing students: The inclusion of integrative health care modalities in nursing core curriculum. Nurse Educ Pract. 2017 Jan;22:66-72. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2016.12.003. Epub 2016 Dec [link]
The good people at D2L Brightspace are offering a webinar on the use of contemplative pedagogy in an online course. No cost. Details below.
From Mitchell Deleplanque of D2L Brightspace:
According to the Contemplative Pedagogy Network, students can form deeper relationships with their peers, their communities, and the world around them when they are encouraged to connect learning to their own values and sense of meaning.
Don’t miss out! Join us on December 10, 2019, for a webinar featuring Karen Nichols and Bart Everson from Xavier University of Louisiana. Our presenters will share how they are integrating contemplative exercises in their mentor-training program.
Participants will receive a link to exercises, resources, and a bibliography.
A conversation with Dr. Jane Compson of UW-Tacoma, on implementing a contemplative pedagogy in an online course.
Dr. Compson got her PhD in Comparative Religion from the University of Bristol, and more recently got her second Masters in Philosophy, concentrating on bioethics, from Colorado State. She currently teaches classes in Comparative Religion; Philosophy, Religion and the Environment; Environmental Ethics; Biomedical Ethics and Introduction to Ethics. She’s working on projects related to self-care and stress management for healthcare professionals as well as documenting local efforts for environmental justice, as well as mindfulness theory.
...exhale through your mouth counting to 10. Gaze at the floor or ceiling during this deep breath. Then roll your shoulders back and look ahead. This one breath will do wonders to center you and prepare you to be present for the upcoming meeting or event that you're about to join. In her blog post, Kate Nugent of The Ariel Group calls this a "doorway moment" in that she recommends this quick vertical centering exercise before entering each meeting. (The Ariel Group offers corporate training in communicating and establishing relationships. They employ actors and acting coaches who give seminars to demonstrate the importance of good communication as well as techniques for achieving it.)
The Ariel Group has also been sharing various techniques at education webinars and conferences such as Pearson's CITE 2015. It was through a webinar actually conducted by Kate Nugent that I learned the benefits of taking a deep breath before taking part in meetings and such. Why would I, as the distance education coordinator, be writing about the "doorway moment"? Well, we can use this centering, getting to the present technique when we're going to meet our students online in a Blackboard Collaborate session, for example. We can also employ this technique before we record a video for our students in order to help us really focus on them and what we want to say to them. Finally, we can insert this deep breath technique into our online courses (I'm thinking at the beginning of the study guides for their tests maybe?) and recommend that the students take a deep breath before plunging into the module.
This first step, right before we begin communicating with our students, may be the most important one in establishing our virtual presence. We're shaking off whatever came before and moving into the present moment, fully engaged and ready to engage the students.
Two years ago, we hosted a session on lectio divina which married two prominent themes in CAT programming: our campus-wide initiative, "Read Today Lead Tomorrow," and contemplative practice. The session was well-received but only hinted at the rich possibilities of contemplative reading, and some participants expressed a desire for more information.
Therefore we are pleased to report that noted scholar Robert-Louis Abrahamson has published a guide on "contemplative engagement with a text." This is not a technique per se; it's more of an attitude. Nevertheless, Abrahamson does prescribe six steps in a clear pattern, with plenty of substantive advice for teachers.
How can higher education best address global environmental challenges? How can we most meaningfully teach and research about environmental issues? How can we cultivate our inner lives through active engagement with environmental challenges?
This workshop explores the contribution of contemplative practices to scholarly inquiry and teaching in environmental studies. Through discussions with distinguished scholars, focused conversations among colleagues, artistic exercises, and regular contemplative practice (meditation, yoga, journaling, and nature walks), participants will investigate ways to deepen their teaching, research, and lives at this historic moment of environmental intensification.
Part workshop and part retreat, this 6-day summer institute provides an opportunity to step back from the frenetic pace of our lives, and cultivate our inner resources and nurture the resiliency we need as teachers committed to education on a fragile and wild planet.
In this interactive presentation, participants will be introduced to a set of mindfulness-based reflective practices for the classroom that were the subject of mixed methods research with university students over five years. The practices apply basic mindfulness principles and guided instruction for individual contemplation, journal writing, listening, inquiry, and dialogue in a student-centered learning format.
Taken together, this set of practices becomes reflective interaction; however the elements are also useful individually or in any combination. These practices and the results of the research were described in the first issue of The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry, published by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.
The same set of practices will be applied in this interactive webinar to help you develop indicators for what matters most in introducing any contemplative practices in your teaching. Participants will explore their intentions, including what matters most to them as the instructor, what matters most to their students, and how they can know if contemplative pedagogy is effective. Results will be shared online and documented by the recording.