Its proponents claim that it holds the key to transforming education. Contemplative pedagogy – the integration of reflective or meditative practices into higher education – has been shown to boost concentration and improve cognitive and academic performance. Daniel P. Barbezat, executive director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and a professor of economics at Amherst College, will visit the University of Virginia Dec. 2 to give a talk about contemplative teaching and learning in the classroom.
The event, “Contemplative Pedagogy and the Transformation of Education,” is scheduled to run from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Newcomb Hall Commonwealth Room and is free to the U.Va. community. Pre-registration is required.
Co-sponsored by the University’s Contemplative Sciences Center and the Teaching Resource Center, Barbezat’s session is also part of the teaching center’s Contemplative Pedagogy Program, fitting into its theme of “Face-to-face Education in a Digital Age.” He will explain what “contemplative pedagogy” means and will help participants discover how first-person critical inquiry can cultivate better discernment and attention in students, offering a way to deepen their understanding of the material they are studying.
In a recent blog post, Barbezat wrote: “Our educational institutions should be environments which foster the realization that our actions shape the world into a reflection of what is most deeply meaningful to us. Information, theory and innovation then become grounded in a process of living out meaning – no longer simply unleashed for any purpose. In this regard, higher education can lead the process of societal change and transformation.”
Co-author with Mirabai Bush of “Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning,” Barbezat has developed economics courses that integrate contemplative exercises designed to enable students to gain deeper understanding and insight.
The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society serves as the national hub for contemplative teaching and learning in higher education.
At the Teaching Resource Center, the Contemplative Pedagogy Program, led by associate director and professor Dorothe Bach, provides support to U.Va. faculty members who wish to systematically integrate contemplation into their courses through a yearlong learning community, the Course Design Institute and other activities.