Background: The Norwegian municipal welfare system provides home healthcare and residential services to a growing population of older people. The skills and competence of the personnel providing these services need to keep pace with demand, and continuing education is vital. A concern, though, is the way positivist knowledge permeates both education and healthcare services; recognising other types of knowledge, such as tacit knowledge together with practical wisdom, is important to complement the focus on evidence-based practice. Aims and objectives: This article addresses the need for healthcare professionals to develop open-minded reflection in writing and in action, as keys to expressing tacit knowledge and thus making it more visible. Moreover, tacit knowledge may also represent practical wisdom, or phronesis'. The aim is to bring forward examples of the often invisible and unrecognised expertise held by experienced nurses and other healthcare professionals. Method: This discussion paper is based on reflection notes written by students doing continuing education in advanced gerontology. Some of the situational dilemmas that students bring forward in their texts are retold, and these stories represent traces of tacit care knowledge, and practical wisdom or phronesis. Findings: Reflection may strengthen students' ethical autonomy and imagination, which is important in healthcare professionals' caregiving. Reflective writing is part of the educational pathway and contributes to the development of personal tacit knowledge and wisdom. The experiences put forward in the student's stories become part of their ability to act and care; this embodied knowledge is understood as part of what phronesis might be. Implications for practice: Fostering healthcare professionals' self-awareness through reflection can help them come to a realisation and understanding that opens up new alternatives for action Reflection may increase awareness of care restrictions due to organisational structures
The scientific discovery of novel training paradigms has yielded better understanding of basic mechanisms underlying cortical plasticity, learning and development. This study is a first step in evaluating Tai Chi (TC), the Chinese slow-motion meditative exercise, as a training paradigm that, while not engaging in direct tactile stimulus training, elicits enhanced tactile acuity in long-term practitioners. The rationale for this study comes from the fact that, unlike previously studied direct-touch tactile training paradigms, TC practitioners focus specific mental attention on the body’s extremities including the fingertips and hands as they perform their slow routine. To determine whether TC is associated with enhanced tactile acuity, experienced adult TC practitioners were recruited and compared to age–gender matched controls. A blinded assessor used a validated method (Van Boven et al. in Neurology 54(12): 2230–2236, 2000) to compare TC practitioners’ and controls’ ability to discriminate between two different orientations (parallel and horizontal) across different grating widths at the fingertip. Study results showed that TC practitioners’ tactile spatial acuity was superior to that of the matched controls (P < 0.04). There was a trend showing TC may have an enhanced effect on older practitioners (P < 0.066), suggesting that TC may slow age related decline in this measure. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate a long-term attentional practice’s effects on a perceptual measure. Longitudinal studies are needed to examine whether TC initiates or is merely correlated with perceptual changes and whether it elicits long-term plasticity in primary sensory cortical maps. Further studies should also assess whether related somatosensory attentional practices (such as Yoga, mindfulness meditation and Qigong) achieve similar effects.
Tactile communication, or physical touch, promotes cooperation between people, communicates distinct emotions, soothes in times of stress, and is used to make inferences of warmth and trust. Based on this conceptual analysis, we predicted that in group competition, physical touch would predict increases in both individual and group performance. In an ethological study, we coded the touch behavior of players from the National Basketball Association (NBA) during the 2008-2009 regular season. Consistent with hypotheses, early season touch predicted greater performance for individuals as well as teams later in the season. Additional analyses confirmed that touch predicted improved performance even after accounting for player status, preseason expectations, and early season performance. Moreover, coded cooperative behaviors between teammates explained the association between touch and team performance. Discussion focused on the contributions touch makes to cooperative groups and the potential implications for other group settings.
This article provides a description of a clinical project that used combined Tai Chi and mindfulness-based stress reduction as an educational program. The 5-week program demonstrated that sustained interest in this material in middle school–aged boys and girls is possible. Statements the boys and girls made in the process suggested that they experienced well-being, calmness, relaxation, improved sleep, less reactivity, increased self-care, self-awareness, and a sense of interconnection or interdependence with nature. The curriculum is described in detail for nurses, teachers, and counselors who want to replicate this type of instruction for adolescent children. This project infers that Tai Chi and mindfulness-based stress reduction may be transformational tools that can be used in educational programs appropriate for middle school–aged children. Recommendations are made for further study in schools and other pediatric settings.
The specific aim of this course is development of a university dance curriculum that will link post-modern dance with Tai Chi as it is understood and practiced by the masters of the discipline in China – both as a practice (i.e., as a set of physical movements known as “Tai Chi Chuan”) and as a spiritual discipline (i.e., “Tai Chi”) worthy of scholarly study. A central hypothesis of this course is that the teaching of Tai Chi Chuan in this country – both in academic and experiential contexts – has generally missed the essence of the actual Chinese discipline by concentrating more on the specific physical steps than on the deeper mental and spiritual principles from which it derives. A major goal of the course is to restore to the curriculum those important principles of employing certain meditation techniques that have not been taught here. The course will apply two central principles of Tai Chi in the context of dance: first, the goal of awareness, or softness, which is simply movement based on stillness; and second, the goal of relational physics, or the intention and orientation of the individual to the whole.
It is important to identify effective non-pharmacological alternatives to stimulant medications that reduce symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In this study of healthy young adults, we measured the effects of training in tai chi, which involves mindful attention to the body during movement. Using a non-randomized, controlled, parallel design, students in a 15-week introductory tai chi course (n = 28) and control participants (n = 44) were tested for ADHD indicators and cognitive function at three points over the course of the 15-weeks. The tai chi students' self-report of attention, but not hyperactivity-impulsivity, improved compared to controls. At baseline, inattention correlated positively with reaction time variability in an affective go/no-go task across all participants, and improvements in attention correlated with reductions in reaction time variability across the tai chi students. Affective bias changed in the tai chi students, as reaction times to positive- and negative-valenced words equalized over time. These results converge to suggest that tai chi training may help improve attention in healthy young adults. Further studies are needed to confirm these results and to evaluate tai chi as therapy for individuals with ADHD.
A new type of teacher is needed in the contemporary classroom--one who is not just a mere technician, but who can keep an open and critical mind. Today's teacher must adjust to a fast-changing reality and the demands of the surrounding world, and internalize the ever-growing flow of information while reflecting on both personal and professional levels (Beed et al. 2005). Research over the last two decades has suggested that reflection is at the heart of effective educational practice (Sweeney 1998; Black 2002) in that it considers the cognitive, social, and moral implications of teaching (Valli 1993; Zeichner and Liston 1987). In the teacher-education community, many advocate the reflective practice framework and have adopted this paradigm in preparing teachers. The proponents of reflective practice see it as the vehicle for getting the new cadre of teachers involved as active partners in school renewal (Valli 1992; Zeichner and Liston 1987). Administrators and experienced teachers must take ownership for mentoring beginning teachers to prepare them for the complexities of everyday teaching and decision making. The valuable concept of reflection must not continue to be manifested as a form of wishful thinking, but should be used as a practical tool for educational planning and professional growth (White 2002).
Background: Mindfulness-based interventions such as Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Cognitive Behavior Therapy (MCBT) have been used to treat adults with psychiatric disorders. This article describes initial modification and development of a mindfulness-based intervention group program for adolescents with psychiatric disorders. It was hypothesized that the intervention would improve mindfulness, mental health outcomes and decrease psychological distress and symptoms. Method: Adolescents from a mental health clinic attended a 5-week group pilot mindfulness-based intervention. Adolescents and parents completed questionnaires at pre- and post-intervention and at 3-month follow-up. Baseline measures indicated moderate to severe range of mental health symptoms. Results: After the intervention, adolescents reported significant decreases in psychological distress and increases in mindfulness and self-esteem. Qualitative data revealed the intervention to be engaging and beneficial. Parents also reported significant overall improvements of adolescents’ functioning. Conclusions: These promising preliminary results suggest that the intervention was feasible, acceptable and offered positive impact on mental health problems, and the intervention warrants further research in a randomized controlled study.
Mindfulness training (MT) is a form of mental training in which individuals engage in exercises to cultivate an attentive, present centered, and non-reactive mental mode. The present study examines the putative benefits of MT in University students for whom mind wandering can interfere with learning and academic success. We tested the hypothesis that short-form MT (7 h over 7 weeks) contextualized for the challenges and concerns of University students may reduce mind wandering and improve working memory. Performance on the sustained attention to response task (SART) and two working memory tasks (operation span, delayed-recognition with distracters) was indexed in participants assigned to a waitlist control group or the MT course. Results demonstrated MT-related benefits in SART performance. Relative to the control group, MT participants had higher task accuracy and self-reported being more "on-task" after the 7-week training period. MT did not significantly benefit the operation span task or accuracy on the delayed-recognition task. Together these results suggest that while short-form MT did not bolster working memory task performance, it may help curb mind wandering and should, therefore, be further investigated for its use in academic contexts.
There are a great many books now available describing the complex rituals and esoteric significance of the ancient practices of Buddhist tantra. But none take the friendly, helpful approach of Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Foundation of Buddhist Thought series. Understanding the many questions Westerners have upon first encountering tantra’s colorful imagery and veiled language, Geshe Tsering gives straight talk about deities, initiations, mandalas, and the various stages of tantric development. He even goes through a simple tantric compassion practice written by the Dalai Lama, using it to unpack the building blocks common to all such visualization techniques. Tantra is a fitting conclusion to the folksy and practical wisdom in the Foundation of Buddhist Thought series.
Publisher description: As David White explains in the Introduction to Tantra in Practice, Tantra is an Asian body of beliefs and practices that seeks to channel the divine energy that grounds the universe, in creative and liberating ways. The subsequent chapters reflect the wide geographical and temporal scope of Tantra by examining thirty-six texts from China, India, Japan, Nepal, and Tibet, ranging from the seventh century to the present day, and representing the full range of Tantric experience--Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and even Islamic. Each text has been chosen and translated, often for the first time, by an international expert in the field who also provides detailed background material. Students of Asian religions and general readers alike will find the book rich and informative. The book includes plays, transcribed interviews, poetry, parodies, inscriptions, instructional texts, scriptures, philosophical conjectures, dreams, and astronomical speculations, each text illustrating one of the diverse traditions and practices of Tantra. Thus, the nineteenth-century Indian Buddhist Garland of Gems, a series of songs, warns against the illusion of appearance by referring to bees, yogurt, and the fire of Malaya Mountain; while fourteenth-century Chinese Buddhist manuscripts detail how to prosper through the Seven Stars of the Northern Dipper by burning incense, making offerings to scriptures, and chanting incantations. In a transcribed conversation, a modern Hindu priest in Bengal candidly explains how he serves the black Goddess Kali and feeds temple skulls lentils, wine, or rice; a seventeenth-century Nepalese Hindu praise-poem hammered into the golden doors to the temple of the Goddess Taleju lists a king's faults and begs her forgiveness and grace. An introduction accompanies each text, identifying its period and genre, discussing the history and influence of the work, and identifying points of particular interest or difficulty. The first book to bring together texts from the entire range of Tantric phenomena, Tantra in Practice continues the Princeton Readings in Religions series. The breadth of work included, geographic areas spanned, and expert scholarship highlighting each piece serve to expand our understanding of what it means to practice Tantra.
- Contemplation by Tradition,
- Buddhist Contemplation,
- Literature of Buddhist Contemplation,
- Introductions to Buddhist Contemplation,
- Practices of Buddhist Contemplation,
- Practices Specific to Tibetan Buddhism,
- Generation phase (utpattikrama, kyerim),
- Deity yoga (devata-yoga, lhé nenjor),
- Perfection phase (nispannakrama, dzokrim),
- Hindu Contemplation,
- Hindu Contemplation by Tradition,
- Hindu Tantra,
- Jain Contemplation
Recent evidence suggests that frontal brain electrical activity reveals asymmetries in activation in response to positive vs negative affective stimuli. This study was designed to evaluate whether this asymmetry is present at birth. Newborn infants were presented with water followed by a sucrose solution and then by a citric acid solution. Facial expression was videotaped during the presentation of the liquids and EEG was recorded from the frontal and parietal scalp regions on the left and right side. Usable EEG data were obtained from 16 newborn infants in response to these taste conditions. Videotaping of facial expression in response to these stimuli indicated the presence of disgust during both water (the first taste introduced) and citric acid. EEG was Fourier Transformed and power in the 1-3, 3-6 and 6-12 Hz bands was computed. The findings revealed that the water condition produced reductions in right-hemisphere power in the two higher frequency bands in both the scalp regions compared with the other two conditions. The sucrose condition produced greater relative left-sided activation in both regions compared with the water condition. These data, in conjunction with our previous findings of asymmetries in 10-month-old infants, indicate that stimulus-elicited affective asymmetries in brain electrical activity are present at birth.