“I understand why people need to ease their emotions”: Exploring mindfulness and emotions in a conceptual physics classroom of an elementary teacher education program
Cultural Studies of Science Education
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2016
Pages: 693 - 712
Source ID: shanti-sources-62676
Abstract: In this manuscript we bring to focus student perceptions of salience (or lack of thereof) of emotions in the undergraduate conceptual physics course (in the teacher education program) and their relevance to teaching and learning. Our analysis of student responses to the Mindfulness in Education Heuristic constitutes a feedback loop affording the teacher reflection over his instructional practices. Hence, we ponder pedagogical tools employed by the class instructor (second author) that students identify as evoking emotional responses (both positive and negative). Furthermore, we highlight this teacher’s dispositions and his value system (axiology) that appear to bring to balance his passion for science (understood in a traditional Western way as a canon-based epistemology) and his approach to teaching that is driven by compassion towards his students many of whom perceive physics as challenging. We argue that adopting mindful disposition affords engaging in practices that assist in regulating emotions and attention that mediate learning of canonical science content. Likewise, we maintain that the instructor and his mindfulness-driven practices become a model to be replicated in his students’ future careers. In such context, mindfulness may be perceived as part of what is referred to as a hidden curriculum. It is our position, however, that the science classroom is a site where wellness-promoting practices (such as mindfulness) should receive an overt attention by becoming science content to be learned and practiced by all citizens throughout everyday life thus contributing to its improved quality. In recognizing that such position may be challenging to adopt by science educators, we present the way the second author has been grappling with reframing his thinking around teaching science. We encourage educators to utilize heuristic methodology towards reflecting on and informing their practice and as one way of exposing their students to social constructs such as mindfulness.