Exploring Intentions and Outcomes in a Contemplative Classroom: A Qualitative Study
Contemplative practices are becoming increasingly present in college classrooms, yet structured studies of the processes and outcomes experienced by students are still quite limited. In this study, I explore change processes within a group of undergraduate students experiencing meditation for the first time as part of a 3-week course on Buddhist philosophy. The following is a qualitative analysis of pre- and post-course focus group interviews with students. The results indicate that intentions at the outset of the course play a key role in deciding how students subsequently approach and experience practice. This early trajectory affects their maintenance of practice as well as their personal development of positive characteristics commonly associated with practice (e.g., presence, acceptance, and meta-awareness). Contemplative educators are encouraged to draw their attention to how such processes might play out in their own classrooms as a means of maximizing the positive benefits of contemplative practice for their students.
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