Book Chapter or Section
Contemplative/mindful education focuses on practices that enable class participants to develop awareness of the events that transpires in the moment in the classroom. Breathing meditation, radical listening, awareness of own and other’s emotions, compassion for others, reflection and conversation, are practices that are used as interventions to manage and ameliorate diverse emotions that often arise in the science classroom. This study took place in a graduate History and Philosophy of Science Education class for pre-service and in-service teachers at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York in the spring of 2014. The goal was to encourage participants to embrace mindfulness practices at the beginning and throughout the semester in an effort to awaken their sense of compassion with themselves and others during class interaction. Controversial topics involving history of science, religion, gender, ethics and other controversial issues were presented and discussed every week as part of the curriculum. Historically, the aforementioned topics generate a rollercoaster of emotions in class participants; this factor and the experiences class participants dealt with in their daily personal lives can present challenges to the class dynamics and to teaching and learning. Mindfulness practices were used in this class as pedagogical tools to provide a judgement-minimized space where class participants could express freely their emotions and perspectives on debatable topics in the field of science education while teaching and learning.