Mindfulness can be considered both a teaching and a learning competency, especially valuable in our shattering times. One can reclaim the future by actually focusing on the present. In fact, staying in the present is no easy task. Contemplative arts-based teaching methods innovatively meet the essential needs of today’s learners. They liberate our innate ability to deal with stress, attention deficit and anxiety by actually focusing on the present. Therefore, contemplative practices could be included as methods of teaching in practically any discipline. They foster focus, presence and so-called “multiple awareness” with an aim to stop the habitual noise of the mind and to open the inner sources of self. They do not aim to avoid reality or run away from it. On the contrary, they nurture mindfulness as a way to relate to reality. Contemplative forms of inquiry go beyond a particular learning context and are especially useful today to balance dispersed attention created to deal with modern digital culture. They cultivate deepened awareness, focus, concentration, and insight. Contemplative methods presume that the learners are responsible for their knowledge and are regarded as co-creators of the learning environment and knowledge. At the same time, the teacher is a guide but also a co-inquirer. Contemplation helps by discovering other ways of knowing, experiencing and being and it very well complements traditional methods of liberal arts education. I will share my experience teaching various university courses, which actively implement contemplative arts-based methods.
Alexandre Avdulov, Saint Mary's University, Canada
Stream: Education / Pedagogy
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