The Garrison Institute’s Contemplative Teaching and Learning (CTL) initiative provides ongoing updates to anyone interested in the widely-expanding field of contemplative education. Included in these updates is information on CTL events and programs, as well as links to articles and other resources supporting the advancement of contemplative education. We are presently featuring teachers’ stories of their experiences bringing contemplative practices to their work, as part of our series "Coming to Care: Collecting Stories for Teachers by Teachers."
This summer, I attended a weeklong retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh called "Mindfulness in Education". I made the decision to attend the retreat with a few reservations; I had read about mindfulness for years (Thich Nhat Hanh, Ellen Langer), but had come to understand the practice mostly on a theoretical rather than practical level. But from the first day of the retreat, the power of the energy of mindfulness came through to me and I felt dedicated to bringing the practice to my classroom. I know that developing my personal practice has been essential in helping cultivate mindfulness in my students.
My name is Mara Linaberger. I’m a career learner, educator, artist, and technologist. I started my learning and teaching journey in an inner city magnet school focused on arts integration. Through the model of aesthetic education, I first encountered mindfulness while helping students bringing presence to shared experiences with works of art. Over time, I increasingly incorporated aesthetic experiences into supporting teachers and students as a technology coach, encouraging them to explore innovative ideas in collaborative ways.
I am a professional musician and educator. I've incorporated mindfulness practice in my teaching since I began working in schools over 20 years ago. In 2009 I created The Music Mindfulness Program. Meditation is a key component, along with free improvisation, to allow students to develop a witness to their music making. It's crucial to lessen self-judgment in our work. Our authentic creativity can be accessed in an environment of mindfulness, acceptance and spontaneity. I've worked with students as young as 3 and others late into their 60's. The intent is the same; we all deserve to feel free, to enjoy our creative life and be comfortable expressing our true nature in community.
I'm a contemplative cook, mother, and English teacher at a rural community college that I call "Sangha College." I've been a Kindergarten teacher and a college professor, but it all boils down to, "How do we teach people to nourish the good in themselves--and what do we serve the picky eaters?'
My name is Stacia Trask. The town where I teach, once a homogenous community, now finds its identity tested. Neither here nor there, it has one foot in the tractor rut of its past and one eye on the open sky of reality. The community, like my students, my newly blended family, or my old farmhouse kitchen that is ever in renovations, is in transition.
Hi I’m Nikki Albrecht, currently Course Coordinator for the MindBody Wellness program at RMIT University, Melbourne and PhD candidate at Flinders University, Australia.
MindBody Wellness practices have been part of my life since childhood. As a child I learned practices such as guided imagery and meditation and used them to help me through my first degree in economics. When I became a primary school teacher, I integrated the practices daily in the classroom to help students learn Japanese, warm-up (or calm-down) for the lesson and to assist students with transitioning from one activity to another. At that time it was accepted to teach Tai Chi and Chi Kung in the classroom but we didn’t dare mention meditation and nobody at that time had heard of mindfulness!
Hello, my name is Beth Dorman, and I am a college teacher educator who has integrated mindfulness practices into my undergraduate and graduate education courses for the past few years at a Jesuit liberal arts college in Colorado. My students are prospective and current teachers.
Hello. I am Eduardo Velasquez. For 20 years I’ve taught political philosophy at Washington and Lee University.
All of my courses are contemplative, that is, we read about contemplation and we practice contemplatively. Courses range from introductions to contemplative political philosophy, a survey of the “Western canon” as we sometimes refer to it, to seminars, the latest entitled “Science, Technology, and Social Media.” Gurantana’s Mindfulness in Plain English is the introductory text students have come to enjoy most. This year I am giving Boundless Awakening: The Heart of Buddhist Meditation a go.
I have studied contemplative traditions and practices for the past 12 years, but always had a seeker's outlook. For the past 5 years, I have taught online undergraduate courses in Health and Wellness for Kaplan University. I have taught Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Stress Reduction, Models of Health and Wellness, etc. The Health and Wellness program is holistic and includes mind-body medicine and spirituality. It encourages contemplation, self-care and holistic thinking. Currently, I am also teaching undergraduate Stress Reduction Practice courses at Indiana University's Bloomington, IN campus. It is an excellent curriculum, developed by David LeBeau, sampling and experiencing over 30 breathwork, stress reduction and mindfulness practices.
Since 1971 I have dedicated my professional energy to the development of relationship-based teaching and learning; and in particular, the use of contemplative practices to support pre-service teachers as they take on the challenges of teaching. My work has offered student teachers an approach that encourages self-reflection, so that they can in turn offer clear attention, empathic listening, and individualized learning to their students.
I am Kendra N. Bryant, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of English, a former high school English teacher from Miami, Florida. Currently I teach First Year Composition 1101 and Improving Writing 2300 at Florida A&M University (FAMU). Both my Bachelor's (Public Relations) and Master's (English Ed) degrees are from FAMU, and I earned my Ph.D. in Rhetoric & Composition from the University of South Florida, Tampa (2012). My latest publication, "Composing Online: Integrating Blogging into a Contemplative Classroom" is published in Pytash's & Ferdig's Exploring Technology for Writing and Writing Instruction, 2013. I also have two pieces--"Dear Zora: Letters from the New Literati" (essay) and "We Be Theorizin'" (poem)--published in Deborah Plant's "The Inside Light": New Criticisms of Zora Neale Hurston, 2010. In addition to contemplative education, my interests rest in composition theory, spiritual memoir and personal essays, blogging, Civil Rights rhetoric, hip-hop culture, and Alice Walker.
I am an artist, curator and holistic educator, whose Doctoral research explores art-making, meditation and poetic inquiry as contemplative processes for nurturing ecological care. My Master’s thesis, Art-making as Spiritual Inquiry; Contemporary Expressions of the Sacred, explored images and processes by artists from Buddhist, Vedic, Sufi and Christian traditions who use art as a form of inner exploration, meditation and prayer. For over 25 years I have been drawing on the poetry of Thich Nhat Hanh and Rumi as entry points for arts-based inquiry in my work and teaching.
My name is Lisa Lucas, Associate Professor in the College of Education at West Chester University and an educational coach and consultant. Prior to this I was a classroom teacher and an administrator for eighteen years. My intent is to foster educational institutions that cultivate teachers, leaders and students that are present in an emotionally healthy climate.
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