Incorporating Contemplative Practices / Why Incorporate / Accelerating pace of life / Issues teachers and students are facing
Issues teachers and students are facing
The benefits of contemplative practice such as heighten metacognition, increased ability to retain and retrieve information and other positive skills associated with increased ability to focus (or single task) and the stronger executive functions that can result from contemplation are increasingly being sought by teachers, for themselves and their students, as a means to deal with their fragmented attention and high anxiety.
In addition teachers are dealing with other unintended consequences of ICT use and the increased pace of life such as Constant Partial Attention (CPA), FOMO or the fear of being left out, digital addiction, social isolation, and a form of distractedness resulting from high ICT use, which is described as digital zombification. The increase of digital zombies, has for example in Hong Kong, led to a new Cantonese colloquialism da tou juk, which means ‘head down tribe’. In the US digital zombification is described by a number of commentators including Andrew Leonard (2014) in the Salon, who speaks about the ‘digital undead,’ who through the social isolation produced by ICT find ‘real or physical life’ to be too awkward, which can lead to their preference for life through a screen.
While Contemplative Education is not a cure all it can help deal with this and other issues currently negatively impacting education. However, for Contemplative Education to be effective an institution wide orientation needs to be developed, including training in contemplative practice for staff, students and administrators. Having said this much can be done by individual contemplative theorists and pedagogues. An important aspect of developing either individual or collective contemplative pedagogy is to first acknowledge the place of the educational relationship and therefore the need to support both students and staff equally.
Contemplative practice can lead to heightened metacognition, increased ability to retain and retrieve information and stronger executive functions.
This is based on the understanding that contemplative pedagogues are contemplative practitioners and there is a need for them to care for themselves before caring for their students. Lastly, it is essential that Natural and Human Science approaches to contemplative pedagogy and research are integrated, and ethical aspects of using psychologically significant practices are considered when developing appropriate ethical guidelines.