Week 7 Summer Teaching Tips

What is contemplative pedagogy? “Contemplative pedagogy serves several educational goals. Research shows that contemplative practice, even if performed for short periods, improves attention, cognition, and cognitive flexibility.” (from Contemplative Studies in Higher Education)

How Can I use it in my classroom?

I start every class with what I call a Mindful Moment:

I ask the students to sit with the feet flat on the floor and to refresh their posture, close their eyes if they are comfortable. Settle into the space; anything that came before this or is coming after doesn’t matter; the only reality at the moment is the present. We then take at least 5 breaths where we inhale through the nose allowing the heart to fill and chest to expand; exhale out the nose, chest relaxes and pull the belly in towards the spine. I invite them to bring to the mind and embrace with the heart something, someone they are grateful for (I usually remind them here that it is even encouraged if they are grateful about something about themselves). I invite them to share that gratitude with others by getting up at the sound of the bell to greet a classmate with a kind touch (handshake, pat on back, fist bump, even a hug) and eye contact. Bell rings and they engage. It has really been a beautiful thing to experience and I am so grateful to be a part of it! — from Jennifer Mason, PHED Faculty

Bayla McDougal, Faculty in Addiction Counseling, took a sabbatical during Fall 2013 and wrote a book about using contemplative practices in the classroom. She is happy to share her work and talk with other faculty about how to get started.

How do I learn more?

Practice! MCTC Contemplative Practice Sessions on Wednesdays 1:00-1:30pm (10:30-11am during Fall) in the Library’s Room to Breathe (5 minutes stretching, 20 minute quiet sitting (some guidance), 5 minutes to process if needed).

Observe: The Mindfulness and Attention Awareness Inventory (MAAS) has been used to assess an individual’s core characteristic of mindfulness.

Explore! Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

Read about it Contemplative Pedagogy…

Talk to colleagues, including Bayla McDougal and Jennifer Mason (among others)

What should I read over the summer? CTL invites you to read any of the following books over the summer to discuss during Fall Opening Days (Aug19-21, 2015):

Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves A Second Chance at Education by Mike Rose

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji

Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses by L. Dee Fink

Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown

Pedagogy of the Oppressed* by Paul Freire

*facilitated discussions of Pedagogy of the Oppressed will be scheduled on an ongoing basis during Fall 2015 semester.

CTL made copies of these books available for checkout through the Resource Library in T2000. You are invited to stop by to see if there are any copies available before purchasing yourself, or check your local library.

Do you want to go back to something in a previous Teaching Tips?  All of these are archived on our website through the News link, and the link is always in our email signature line.

How can I learn more about using D2L Brightspace in my classes?  Contact drl@minneapolis.edu

Where can I get help with teaching or other parts of my teaching role?  Email ctl@minneapolis.edu

If you have ideas for future Teaching Tips or would like to write a guest blog post for the CTL blog, please contact Jennifer.Sippel@minneapolis.edu Thanks!

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