Navigating Stress: Graduate Student Experiences with Contemplative Practices in a Foreign Language Teacher Education Course
Keywords:teacher education, contemplative pedagogy, graduate student stress, teacher stress, stress management, affect
The present case study investigates the experience of stress among graduate students, particularly stress related to teaching, their coping strategies, and their experience with contemplative practices integrated into a teacher education course. While there is a significant body of research on contemplative practices in K-12 teacher development, few studies have looked at the integration of contemplative practices in graduate student experiences in higher education. Data for this case study include interviews with 19 graduate students enrolled in foreign language M.A./Ph.D. programs. Results suggest that students’ perceived stress stems from the difficulties of adapting to and balancing new responsibilities and concerns about teaching. To cope with stress, graduate students most commonly rely on emotional support from peers and time management strategies. Students report that participating in contemplative practices together as a class cultivated community, providing them with support, collegiality, interconnectedness, and collaboration as teachers and scholars. The integration of contemplative practices promoted an awareness of the importance of self-care, compassion for self and others, and social and emotional awareness.
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