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Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning
Review of Higher Education
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2015
Pages: 153 - 156
Source ID: shanti-sources-82846
Abstract: Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning, by Daniel Barbezat and Mirabai Bush, is a two-part, multi-disciplinary book synthesizing the pedagogical reasons and methods for introducing post-secondary students to “contemplative practices” (like meditation, journaling, yoga, among others). The authors concisely move through this material, presenting in a rapid succession, a myriad of examples and compelling reasons for using “contemplative practices” in academic settings. They furthermore argue that higher education and the student populations it serves need more “contemplative practices” and exposure to the benefits it provides not only educationally, but also holistically for self and identity development. Daniel P. Barbezat and Mirabai Bush come to this book with expertise in higher education as well as in “contemplative practices.” Both authors serve as directors within the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. Their years of experience with “contemplative practice” includes serving as trainers and advocates of these practices, as well as using these pedagogical practices in their own post-secondary courses (Barbezat in economics, Bush in writing and English literature). There is a combination of primary experience and secondary research supporting the efforts of this ambitious and much-needed text within higher education literature. This book gains strength and momentum from the backgrounds of the authors. Not only do they practice what they advocate, they acknowledge that there are other higher educational professionals also using “contemplative practices” whose works should also be featured. Throughout this book, readers learn from personal experiences and ideas of the authors as well as leading practitioners at a host of colleges and universities, particularly ones within the United States, and benefit from seeing a truly diverse and creative array of “contemplative practices” in practice. No single academic discipline is over-represented, and the authors do a commendable job of showing the realm of possibilities through the inclusion of non-humanities disciplines ranging from medicine to physics. This approach sets forth a means of propelling the discussions onward to a broader audience and beyond the scope of the humanities and arts. In the first half of this book, Barbezat and Bush develop a compendium of reasons why we should use these practices, inclusive of the psychological, neuroscience, and emotional regulation benefits.