AWAKENING: INVESTIGATING APPROACHES THAT PROMOTE AUTHENTIC FACILITATION OF CONTEMPLATIVE TEACHING IN THE CLASSROOM
Teaching as contemplative professional practice involves awareness and understanding of our inner self, aspects of how we conceptualize situations, and how we act in particular moments. The element of 'presence' is also required in teaching as contemplative practice to develop a heightened sensitivity for what is happening in the moment and to fully experience the present with all of our senses. In a time where schools put a lot of emphasis on both rational and sensory ways of knowing (dealing primarily with knowledge in the past and future) it may be difficult for teachers to see the rationale in bringing into the curriculum, the practice of contemplation that focus solely on the present. However, recent studies show that contemplative practice such as mindfulness meditation is effective in fostering self-awareness and increasing capacities such as creativity, empathy, compassion, and interpersonal skills in schools and in the workplace. The aim of this study is to develop a theoretical understanding of the process teachers (who have been asked to introduce mindfulness meditation practices into their day-to-day teaching) undergo and the methods they employ to ensure that students actively engage in learning ‘in the present’, using a grounded theory approach. The study suggests that a process known as ‘awakening’ is an essential first step in establishing authentic and meaningful environment for contemplative learning and teaching to thrive.
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