Contemplative Pedagogy (CP) is an approach to education that uses contemplative practices, attention to the full student experience, and an interest in transformative learning to create more meaningful course environments. According to Daniel Barbezat and Mirabai Bush in Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning, contemplative pedagogy “can help develop empathy and communication skills, improve focus and attention, reduce stress and enhance creativity, supporting a loving and compassionate approach to life.” CTL supports the integration of contemplative pedagogy into course design and teaching through:
- Regular contemplative pedagogy meetings
- Individual consultations
- Online resources
Contemplative Pedagogy Group
CTL supports UMass’ strategic interest in deep engagement with course concepts, student resiliency, stress management, inclusive teaching, and sense of belonging through regular contemplative pedagogy meetings during the academic year. Our group attracts educators and administrators from across the disciplines, including over 200 non-unique participants per year. All are welcome to attend. Meetings typically involve sharing teaching experiences and resources related to contemplative pedagogy and mindful education. To join the mailing list, contact Brian Baldi.
In Spring 2024, the Contemplative Pedagogy Group gathers on the following dates:
- Friday, February, 9, 10-11:30 AM, “Contemplating the Semester Ahead,” (Facilitators: Lena Fletcher, Environmental Conservation, and Brian Baldi, CTL). In this gathering, we’ll discuss how to be present for our students and engage with equanimity amidst the continuing turbulence of the world.
- Friday, March 8, 10-11:30 AM, “Reading in Community with Meditation,” (Facilitators: Arnau Vives, Spanish and Portuguese, Lena Fletcher, Environmental Conservation, and Brian Baldi, CTL) In this gathering, Dr. Arnau Vives (Visiting Professor, Spanish and Portuguese) will share his work with ‘Aula de Literatura i Meditació’, a group of students and teachers from the University of Barcelona who are exploring the study of literature and creation with the tools offered by meditation. In the session, we will practice some reading, meditation, and writing practices that can help us to establish a deeper and more meaningful dialogue with a literary text.
- Friday, April 5, 10-11:30 AM, “Slow Reading Course Evaluations,” (Facilitators: Brian Baldi and Colleen Kuusinen, CTL). In this gathering, we’ll talk about a contemplative process of engaging deeply with student evaluations of our teaching. How do we approach feedback with equanimity and an open mind? What happens when we slow down the process of reading feedback? We’ll find out together.
- Friday, May 17, 10-11:30 AM, “Reflections on the Semester” (Facilitators: Lena Fletcher, Environmental Conservation, and Brian Baldi, CTL) In this gathering, we’ll reflect on our semester within a community of contemplative educators and make plans for replenishing ourselves over the summer.
All gatherings will be offered in a hybrid modality, with in person attendance in the CTL conference room in 312 Bartlett Hall. For an event link, email email@example.com.
For a full list of contemplative pedagogy programming since 2015 and a brief history of the CP Group, see our past programming list.
UMass Courses & CP
UMass faculty from disciplines as varied as anthropology, education, service learning, natural resources conservation, biochemistry, and history use contemplative pedagogy in their teaching. To learn which of your colleagues use these techniques, please see our list of UMass Courses Taught with Contemplative Pedagogy. And be sure to check out Lena Fletcher's (Environmental Conservation) Faculty Success profile on how she uses contemplative pedagogy in her classes!
Contemplative pedagogy is a growing field supported by an ever-expanding list of resources and perspectives. CTL has compiled a resource page containing links to classroom exercises, articles, books, webinars, journals, research centers, and other resources that can support your interest in using contemplative techniques in the classroom.
Faculty, librarians, students, and staff at UMass Amherst have access to a variety of contemplative and mindful resources and activities, including the UMass Student Meditation Group, UMass Meditates, contemplative resources, and various mindfulness opportunities.
For more information, contact Brian Baldi.