A Pedagogy of Well-Being: Introducing Mindfulness to First Year Access Students


  • Karen Ragoonaden University of British Columbia


dfulness, Well-Being, University 101, Medicine Wheel of Learning, Indigenous Education, Aboriginal Access Program


This article examines the impact of introducing mindfulness practices to an Access (developmental) course aimed at first-year students. As a pathway to well-being, the cultivation of mindfulness supports the harmonious balance of the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual dimensions of the self. An ancillary aim of this qualitative study is to examine the similarities between mindfulness practices and traditional teachings of First Nation, Inuit and Métis First Peoples of Canada. Using precepts from the Medicine Wheel of Learning, the content of a developmental course entitled University 101 was adapted to incorporate Indigenous traditions of teaching and learning. Acknowledging this holistic approach, circles of learning were used to introduce and to apply new concepts. Formal and informal mindfulness practices emphasizing breath awareness, movement, and being present were regular components of the course. This article focuses on the analysis of interview questions exploring the impact of mindfulness practices on first-year Aboriginal Access students.

Author Biography

Karen Ragoonaden, University of British Columbia

Karen Ragoonaden, Ph.D. is a member of the Faculty of Education of the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus, Canada. She has lived, studied and worked in North America, Europe and Africa. Fluently bilingual in English and French, her academic interests span the breadth of  Contemplative Practices, Mindfulness in Education and Indigenous Education. Her teaching and research in the conceptualization and development of stress management and resiliency techniques  (smartEducation) focuses on integrating mindfulness initiatives in education. smartEducation aims to develop and sustain the health and well-being of professionals in educational contexts.  An ancillary aim of this MBI is to implement mindfulness programs in several sectors, promoting a network of collaborations, and sustainable practices.


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