Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College


Education 398. Experimental Courses

Contemplative Approaches to Schooling and Society

Through scholarly study and experiential learning, EDUC 398 provides an introduction to contemplative studies. Students examine the theories of mindfulness and contemplative studies as they engage in such practices and explore connections to teaching, learning, schooling and everyday living. Mindfulness draws on the innate wisdom of our minds and bodies to develop calm, concentration, and insight, and to foster personal growth. The class will explore what it means to read, write, listen, speak, and interact with the world mindfully. They will then take mindful understandings into the field to teach to and practice with others.

Whether reading, writing or discussing narrative, poetry, or nonfiction, who we are shapes our response to text, the meanings we make, and how we choose to cognitively integrate those meanings. Through the examining eastern and western concepts of “self,” students focus stabilized attention on the ways they learn and acquire literate understandings. As teachers and learners, does literacy bring wholeness and understanding or create tension and dissonance? Are we reading, writing, speaking or listening for ourselves, or others? Do we approach learning and life tasks with open minds and hearts, or, after many years of schooling, have these tasks become hackneyed and stale? Is deeper engagement still possible?

EDUC 398 responds to a state mandate for additional literacy-based courses, which focus on the reading, responding to and understanding of content across the curriculum. The course is designed for licensure majors, but is open to all students and those pursuing the general education minor or a future contemplative studies minor. EDUC 398 may serve as one of two education foundations courses for the education major as well as representing a foundational course for the contemplative studies minor (now in development). Study will integrate mindful or contemplative approaches to reading and writing in many genres, with an emphasis on how we attend to, process, retain, understand and utilize content knowledge.