Contemplative neuroscience, self-awareness, and education
Progress in Brain Research: Vol. 244. Meditation
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2019
Pages: 355 - 385
Source ID: shanti-sources-82781
Collection: Contemplative Pedagogy in Higher Education
Abstract: Accumulating research in education shows that contemplative practices contribute to and foster well-being of individuals in sustainable ways. This bears special importance for teachers, as it affects not only them but also their students. Based on accumulating behavioral and neuroscientific findings, it has been suggested that a key process by which mindfulness meditation enhances self-regulation is the altering of self-awareness. Indeed, accumulated work shows that the underlying networks supporting various types of self-awareness are malleable following meditative practice. However, the field of education has developed independently from the study of the self and its relation to contemplative neuroscience thus far, and to date there is no systematic account linking this accumulating body of knowledge to the field of education or discussing how it might be relevant to teachers. Here we show how incorporating insights from contemplative neuroscience—which are built on the conceptualization and neuroscience of the self—into contemplative pedagogy can inform the field and might even serve as a core underlying mechanism tying together different empirical evidence. This review points to potential neural mechanisms by which mindfulness meditation helps teachers manage stress and promote supportive learning environments, resulting in improved educational outcomes, and thus it has significant implications for educational policy regarding teachers.