From Being Known in the Classroom to “Moments of Meeting”: What Intersubjectivity offers Contemplative Pedagogy


  • Dana A. Schneider Southern Connecticut State University
  • Elizabeth King Keenan Southern Connecticut State University


intersubjectivity, contemplative pedagogy, presence, relational connection, attention, student engagement, learning communities


Despite recent advances in psychological theory and research, often empirical knowledge of intersubjectivity is not incorporated into teaching. In this paper we suggest that using the intersubjective space of the classroom can provide students with experiences of being known and “moments of meeting” which can result in transformative learning.  Using a conceptual framework, we explore why being known is a relevant concept in education and contemplative pedagogy, and highlight student perspectives and an example from our own teaching.  We suggest that contemplative pedagogical activities are inherently intersubjective, thereby providing opportunities for being known and educational moments of meeting.

Author Biographies

Dana A. Schneider, Southern Connecticut State University

DANA A. SCHNEIDER, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.,  is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Southern Connecticut State University. Prior to teaching, she was a clinical social worker in private practice and specialized in working with adult individuals. She completed the Contemplative Practice Program at Smith College School for Social Work and has deepened her own training through retreats with Thich Nhat Hanh and his monastics at Plum Village and Blue Cliff, and with Jon Kabat-Zinn. She is interested in contemplative pedagogy, mindfulness and meditation, as well as the Charter for Compassion global initiative. She is currently working with colleagues at SCSU to become a designated University of Compassion.

Elizabeth King Keenan, Southern Connecticut State University

ELIZABETH KEENAN, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., is Professor in the Department of Social Work at Southern Connecticut State University. Dr. Keenan’s publications include articles on common factors, clinical process, intersubjectivity, and the nature of change. She has over a decade of clinical practice experience and is currently engaged in community organizing.


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