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Website of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education. The website includes a bibliography related to contemplative practice and contemplative education, including several papers written by fellows of the Association available as PDFs on the website.

Philosophers have suggested that we can improve teacher thinking--and hence teaching and education--by improving the premises in teachers' practical arguments. They assume that if we can assure that teachers' premises have empirical reference and that they are complete and coherent we can make progress toward improvement. This essay examines the concept of practical argument, considering questions such as: how does rationality manifest itself in teaching? Must thinking of consequence for action be necessarily and centrally connected to decisions about what to do? Do values of theoretical reasoning, such as universality, logical order, explicitness, and completeness translate to the practical domain? The author argues that relying on practical arguments for the improvement of teaching ignores the extent to which teaching is an act of wisdom and belongs to the contemplative life. She contends, second, that--in representing teachers' arguments for purposes of analysis and improvement--we must make good the distinction between simplification and misrepresentation. She concludes by discussing some major philosophical difficulties in the analysis of practical reasoning that need to be kept in mind if researchers and teacher educators are to work with the concept of practical argument to good purpose.

Does teaching begin and end in contemplative thought? In exploring this question, Margret Buchmann suggests that conceptions of teacher thinking must be expanded beyond planning and decision making. People's ordinary conception of thinking includes imagining, remembering, interpreting, and caring. Hence, to understand the full scope and meaning of teachers' thoughts, researchers and teacher educators have to broaden and diversify their ideas. Contemplation is a process of thinking that, though remote from action and utility, directs and supports the comprehensive practical life. Describing contemplation as careful attention and wonderstruck beholding, the author examines subject matter and children as objects of teachers' contemplative concern. Her argument for the practicality of contemplation is based on a concept of practice going beyond what an individual teacher does or what can be typically observed in schools. This collective, moral concept invokes intrinsic ends and ideas of perfection: constitutive fidelities of teaching that are made available in contemplation.

This article reports the development of the 54-item College Chronic Life Stress Survey (CCLSS) and its use in prospective studies of the relationship between chronic stress and psychological distress in college students. Study 1 demonstrated the CCLSS's test-retest reliability and concurrent validity (best friend corroboration of specific items). Study 1 also revealed differential endorsement of specific CCLSS items as a function of gender and year in college. Study 2 cross-sectional and prospective analyses showed that CCLSS chronic stress was a significant predictor of distress. Study 3 cross-sectional analyses showed that the CCLSS effects withstood the statistical control of neuroticism. The findings suggest the value of future research on chronic stress and demonstrate the utility of the CCLSS in studies with college students.

This project involves developing syllabi for two courses, an introduction to American Studies and an English Department senior seminar. It focuses on nature writers-not only literary authors, but natural and social scientists-who are also contemplatives: Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Barry Lopez, Gary Snyder, Richard Nelson, Terry Tempest Williams, Linda Hogan and others. Themes explored in these texts include dwelling, home and universe, comparative traditions, science, travel, the lessons of history, embodiment, ecofeminism, green movements and environmental justice, and imaginative versions of landscape by the privileged juxtaposed to the lived experience of the disempowered. Since contemplation of nature is what most nature writers in fact do, students involve themselves as well in contemplative practice. They begin each class period with meditation as a centering exercise; write contemplative journal entries on their readings; and reflect deeply on these entries and turn them into papers. Further, the act of contemplation for nature writers does not end in solitude, but in emergence in a connection to the world. To this end, there is a community service component in these courses, compulsory in the introductory course and voluntary in the senior seminar.

Mindfulness meditation is increasingly recognized as a health promotion practice across many different kinds of settings. Concomitantly, contemplative education is being integrated into colleges and universities in order to enhance learning through reflection and personal insight. The confluence of these trends provides an opportunity to develop experiential curriculum that promotes both health and learning through the teaching of contemplative practices in higher education settings. Such curriculum, if indeed it is believed to be a valuable development in higher education, must not be reserved only for elite and highly competitive schools serving traditional college students, but must be integrated into campuses of all kinds and made accessible to any student. This emphasis on accessibility will need to consider the growing interest in contemplative learning across economic, religious, and ethnic groups, geographic contexts, and individual differences, including disability. The growth of contemplative curriculum in higher education will also need to be accompanied by meaningful and valid curriculum assessment methods in order to abide by the standards of contemporary university settings as it gently transforms many such settings. This article describes the development of an experiential course in mindfulness that was taught on two very different college campuses. The author's personal experiences and preparation for the course, the course content, the impact of the course on students, and reflections on contemplative practice as a movement in education are offered as an example of the potential for contemplative education in some unexpected places.

Meditation nowadays plays a part in mind/body medicine and in some branches of educational psychology. In ancient and medieval times, these functions formed a part of the humanities curriculum as it was taught in philosophical schools, monastic communities, and universities. This article claims that it is by returning to a holistic view of the functions of the humanities by means of meditative disciplines that the value and usefulness of the humanities can be most successfully integrated into Western life and institutions. In bringing about this perspective, teachers in the humanities have a great deal to learn from research in the cognitive neurosciences.

This article draws on research in neuroscience, cognitive science, developmental psychology, and education, as well as scholarship from contemplative traditions concerning the cultivation of positive development, to highlight a set of mental skills and socioemotional dispositions that are central to the aims of education in the 21st century. These include self-regulatory skills associated with emotion and attention, self-representations, and prosocial dispositions such as empathy and compassion. It should be possible to strengthen these positive qualities and dispositions through systematic contemplative practices, which induce plastic changes in brain function and structure, supporting prosocial behavior and academic success in young people. These putative beneficial consequences call for focused programmatic research to better characterize which forms and frequencies of practice are most effective for which types of children and adolescents. Results from such research may help refine training programs to maximize their effectiveness at different ages and to document the changes in neural function and structure that might be induced.
Zotero Collections: Education and Contemplation

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