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Responding to the Challenges of a Contemplative Curriculum

Charles Burack

Abstract


The undergraduate Psychology program at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, California, is one of a small number of undergraduate programs that offer a holistic, transformative, and integrative approach to psychology. One important dimension of the program’s educational approach is the use of contemplative practices in the classroom. Drawing on the teaching experiences of four experienced faculty members, the author discusses the multiple educational purposes that contemplative pedagogies serve as well as the various strategies used to introduce and integrate these transformational pedagogies into the classroom. The author also discusses ways to maintain students’ psychological safety, ensure instructors’ contemplative competence, and maintain the separation of church and state.

Keywords


contemplation; meditation; mindfulness; higher education; undergraduate psychology; transformative learning; student-centered teaching; whole person pedagogy; curriculum development; course design; teacher training; spirituality; holistic; transpersonal

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References


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