The Contemplative Mind in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

The Contemplative Mind in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

The Contemplative Mind in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

The Contemplative Mind in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning


In The Contemplative Mind in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Patricia Owen-Smith considers how contemplative practices may find a place in higher education. By creating a bridge between contemplative practices and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), Owen-Smith brings awareness of contemplative pedagogy to a larger audience of college instructors, while also offering classroom models and outlining the ongoing challenges of both defining these practices and assessing their impact in education. Ultimately, Owen-Smith asserts that such practices have the potential to deepen a student's development and understanding of the self as a learner, knower, and citizen of the world.


How young we are when we start wondering about it all, the nature of the journey and
of the final destination.

—Robert Coles, The Spiritual Life of Children

This book is about the return to and understanding of the contemplative in higher education. Specifically, it is about the place of contemplative knowing and contemplative practices within the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) framework. the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE) and SoTL share a commitment to improving the quality of teaching and learning, and both seek to transform higher education. the philosophical underpinnings of the two movements reveal some similar historical junctures. Both call for radical shifts in thought and practice in an effort to recover important dimensions of learning and knowing that have been lost in higher education.

Lee Shulman, president emeritus of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, from which SoTL emerged, articulates a taxonomy, or what he calls a “table of learning” (2002). Fundamental to this taxonomy are “engagement and motivation,” “knowledge and understanding,” “performance and action,” “reflection and critique,” “judgment and design,” and “commitment and identity.” According to Shulman, this heuristic argues for “the mutually interdependent facets of an educated person’s life of mind, of emotion, and of action” (42). Shulman centers on “commitment” as a major kind of learning, one that “is both moving inward and connecting outward [and is] the highest attainment an educated person can achieve” (41).

Contemplative eemotion that draw on the human capacity to know, specifically through stillness, awareness, attention, mindfulness, and reflection. a contemplative pedagogy is one that emphasizes “interior qualities of lifelong impact, such as self-knowledge and ethical cultivation” (Grace 2011, 99). Daniel Barbezat and Mirabai Bush note that all contemplative practices “place the student in the center of his or her learning so the student can connect his or her inner world to the outer world” (2014, 5–6). Therefore, both contemplative and SoTL educators prioritize the transformation of habits of the mind, deepening . . .

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