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 2022-2023, the Contemplative Pedagogy Group meets on the following dates:
- Friday, September 23, 10-11:30 AM, "Setting Intentions" (Brian Baldi, CTL, and Lena Fletcher, Environmental Conservation)
- Friday, October 21, 10-11:30 AM, "Teaching with Kindness" (Brian Baldi, CTL, and Lena Fletcher, Environmental Conservation)
- Friday, November 18, 10-11:30 AM, "Contemplating Our Biases" (Kirsten Helmer and Brian Baldi, CTL)
- Friday, December 16, 10-11:30 AM, "Reflecting and Reconnecting" (Brian Baldi, CTL, and Lena Fletcher, Environmental Conservation)
- Friday, February 24, 10-11:30 AM, "Setting Intentions" (Lena Fletcher, Environmental Conservation, Kirsten Helmer, CTL)
- Friday, March 24, 10-11:30 AM, "Contemplating Our Grading Methods" (Lena Fletcher, Environmental Conservation)
- Friday, April 14, 10-11:30 AM, "Bringing Awareness into Thought and Teaching," (Katja Hahn D'Errico, Civic Engagement and Service Learning, Kirsten Helmer, CTL)
- Friday, May 12, 10-11:30 AM, "Ending the Semester on a Contemplative Note" (Lena Fletcher, Environmental Conservation, Kirsten Helmer, CTL)
For a full list of contemplative pedagogy programming since 2016, 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.