Initiative on Contemplation and Education Program Associate, Anna DeWeese shares thoughts on re-entering the classroom and news about an upcoming event.
“Back to School” – this phrase simultaneously makes me happy and sad. It makes me happy because it means re-engaging with my students, their parents, and my colleagues to do something I am passionate about. It makes me sad because I know not every student and not every teacher will re-enter the classroom with the same passion that I have. Not because I am somehow ‘better’ than those individuals, or because I have a ‘higher standard’ toward learning and teaching; but because the situations and circumstances surrounding them have made it next to impossible for their passion to be sustained. School-readiness has much more to do with a person’s whole experience than the ability to achieve a particular grade on an exam. Such readiness matters as much for students and all of the adults who play a part in their learning experience. Many students and teachers are running on fumes – whether because they are hungry, tired, sick, stressed – and this is no way to function. So much attention has been given in recent years to teacher performance and its reflection in students’ test scores, as well as to budgetary issues and ensuing ‘battles’ between divergent groups of reformers, policymakers, education leaders, parents and other community members. And this coverage has been overwhelmingly negative. It is no wonder that students and teachers alike may not be looking forward to another school year.
The importance of regaining sustainability and stability in our classrooms cannot be overstated, and an upcoming event intends to investigate ways in which contemplative practices may do exactly that. Advancing the Science and Practice of Contemplative Teaching and Learning, hosted by the Initiative on Contemplation and Education (ICE), hopes to be a time for anyone interested in this growing field to share space and hear from researchers, practitioners and one another. We are looking forward to a highly interactive weekend, including many opportunities for engaging with contemplative practice, as well as thought-provoking speakers, panelists and break-out sessions. As the Program Associate for ICE, it is obvious that I would want to support and otherwise promote this event – but my reasons are more personal than professional. I am inviting and encouraging people to attend the symposium because I know first-hand what contemplative practices can bring to a classroom.
Adi Flesher, Director, Contemplative Teaching and Learning: Contact/Bio
Susan Fountain, Field Development Manager
Leadership Council: Patricia Broderick, Richard C. Brown, Adele Diamond, Mark Greenberg, Tobin Hart, Linda Lantieri, Peggy McCardle, Jerome Murphy, Elizabeth Robertson, Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Pamela Seigle, Mark Wilding, Rona Wilensky, Arthur Zajonc
Senior Advisory Board: Clancy Blair, Paul Ekman, Peter Senge, Dan Siegel, B. Alan Wallace