Course Number: EPSE 604B
Dates and Time: January 9th to April 3rd, 2018; Tuesdays, 1:00-4:00pm
Instructor: Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl, Ph.D.
Professor, Human Development, Learning, and Culture, ECPS; Director, Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), SPPH, Faculty of Medicine
Recently, there has been widespread emerging interest in the use of contemplative practices (including mindfulness, yoga, etc.) aimed at cultivating mindful attention awareness and positive human qualities such as compassion and altruism in teachers and students alike. But what is mindfulness and how can it be cultivated in secular educational settings in ways that support and extend other core aims of education associated with the “three Rs”? Both clinical science and neuroscience have revealed important beneficial outcomes of the practice of mindfulness – defined as moment-to-moment, present-centered, non-judgmental awareness, in adults. New efforts are underway to extend these practices and examine their beneficial effects to children and adolescents such that the downstream consequences of a lack of mindfulness, self-regulation, and compassion, including stress and its deleterious effects on the body and the mind, might be curtailed.
In this advanced graduate seminar, we will examine the theoretical and empirical literature associated with mindfulness during both childhood and adolescence and in educators as well, with a particular focus on examining the processes and mechanisms that foster well-being in students and teachers across a variety of educational contexts. Course readings will cover such topics as: contemporary definitional and methodological issues in mindfulness research; individual, familial, social, and contextual processes and mechanisms associated with mindfulness interventions with children, youth, and teachers; and school and community based interventions. Readings for the course will include a variety of books (including the instructor’s co-edited book with Dr. Robert W. Roeser)published by Springer Press in 2016 titled “Handbook of Mindfulness in Education: Integrating Theory and Research Into Practice”), empirical research articles, and literature reviews on recent innovations in mindfulness from neuroscience, psychobiology, epigenetics, clinical research, and education. Note that this is an advanced level graduate course and assignments will include several written assignments and presentations. Both master’s level and doctoral students are welcome to enroll.
Some of the questions that we will consider include:
- How have different researches and educators defined mindfulness?
- How can contemplative practices be “secularized” and used in secular educational settings like schools and other settings?
- Do teachers need mindfulness practices or only students?
- How should such practices be taught and delivered?
- What are the measures that can be used to assess mindfulness and related constructs?
- How can recent research from neuroscience and clinical research inform mindfulness interventions in educational settings?