Letting Go, Letting Be, Letting Come

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The Value of Contemplative Practices in an Online Course

For a discussion to at Fusion 2019, Kissimmee, by Bart Everson and Karen Nichols


"Higher education is currently dominated by ‘third person’, didactic approaches which focus on teaching students new information. Contemplative pedagogy shifts the focus of teaching and learning to incorporate ‘first person’ approaches which connect students to their lived, embodied experience of their own learning. Students are encouraged to become more aware of their internal world and connect their learning to their own values and sense of meaning which in turn enables them to form richer deeper, relationships with their peers, their communities and the world around them." Contemplative Pedagogy Network

The session will begin with a contemplative exercise as a demonstration with the participants.

Session participants will then be given a general introduction to Contemplative Pedagogy in higher education and shown data on the benefits of incorporating it into one's teaching. We will then pause and experience another contemplative exercise.

The online environment can often add an extra layer that separates the student from learning even more than in a traditional classroom. This session will show how bringing in short, contemplative (or mindful) exercises at the beginning of each module in our mentoring training program for faculty and advisors, we are providing a way for the students to reconnect back to the material, but also, modeling contemplative practices for them to use with their mentees.

Brightspace makes it easy to post these contemplative exercises in a variety of formats in order to be accessible to students with a wide range of abilities. Session participants will be shown how the contemplative pedagogy is woven into the training program as well as have the opportunity to experience a few of the exercises themselves.

Finally, feedback from the students in the mentor training program that evaluates the contemplative exercises will be shared during the session.

Participants will also receive handouts for (or links to) the exercises, resources and bibliography.


  • Barbezat, Daniel P, and Mirabai Bush. Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014.
  • Douglass, Laura Sevika. “Contemplative Online Learning Environments.”Journal of Online Education, 2007. http://www.nyu.edu/classes/keefer/waoe/douglass.htm
  • Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. New York: Hyperion, 1994.
  • Levy, David M. Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016.
  • Pang, Alex Soojung-Kim. The Distraction Addiction: Getting the Information You Need and the Communication You Want without Enraging Your Family, Annoying Your Colleagues, and Destroying Your Soul. New York: Little, Brown, 2013.
  • Schoeberlein, Deborah R, and Suki Sheth. Mindful Teaching & Teaching Mindfulness : A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything. Somerville MA: Wisdom Publications, 2009.