Contemplative education supports the role of self reflection in the process of learning, understanding, and communicating. The Latin verb educare means to bring forth from the learner. The student, in contemplative pedagogy, is at the center of learning. Teaching and learning become an exchange of information, ideas, and concepts aimed at making the student and the faculty better human beings.
Among the goals of contemplative education are:
- self awareness
- awareness of others
- increased focus and relaxation
- improved cognitive skills
- capacity to reflect before reacting
- bridging empathy gaps
Contemplative teachings are mostly extrapolated from different spiritual traditions and often need to be translated into secular practices that are more suitable for the academic context.
As a yoga teacher and professor of Italian language and culture, I integrate contemplative practices - such as deep breathing and body awareness - in my classes. I also teach course on contemplative education in Italian wisdom traditions.
My research in contemplative studies in academia is mostly based on the work of the Association of Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, as well as on the academic work of the Carolyn Grant Endowment at Vassar College.