About Us

European and North American education has gone through two major stages in the Modern period. The first is what Paulo Freire has called the banking model, which was developed to train students to function in the capitalist economy. Following on the work of Friere and often drawing on his major work Pedagogy of the Oppressed published in 1968, a body of work that critiqued the banking model and sought to develop alternative pedagogic praxes rapidly developed and gained popularity. This work critiqued earlier education, especially on the ground that it was a form of indoctrination aimed to produce docile and malleable workers who would not challenge the status quo. It also found wide application in a range of anti-oppressive pedagogies as feminists, anti-racists, post-colonialist and GBLT theorists, among others, analyzed the modes and pedagogies of Othering and sought to develop counter-praxes. Rather than schooling for success in the dominant culture, this approach emphasized developing critical consciousness, resistance and empowerment in order to foster personal freedom and social justice.

A third wave of teaching and learning employing contemplative practices has recently emerged. While contemplative practices date from the earliest days of human society, in the West their presence outside of religious and other spiritual intuitions began to be felt in a significant way only in the latter half of the 20th century. They were brought to popular awareness largely through the writings and art of the Beats and other artists. In education one of the most notable developments was the work of Chögyam Trungpa and his founding of Naropa University in 1974. As well, Hindu yoga practices were being introduced by such teachers as Mr. B. K. S. Iyengar and many others. At the same time many young Americans were making their pilgrimage to India and South East Asia to study with yoga teachers and meditation masters. Upon their return they began to teach, publish books, develop meditation centers and hold retreats. All of this helped disseminate meditation practices and Vipassana or Mindful Meditation in particular rose to prominence. Having experienced for themselves the benefits of mindfulness in terms of developing focus, concentration and in opening space for new and creative thinking and behavior, Western meditaters began to find uses for their new skills in their classrooms.

At this time wide range of contemplative practices drawn from the world’s spiritual traditions is rapidly finding places in secular education at all levels. While Buddhist-based Mindfulness is perhaps the most prominent of these, there is a wide range of others, including practices drawn from Hinduism, American Transcendentalism, Daoism, Jewish, Christian and Islamic approaches and many others. Teachers, academics, researchers and students are developing a growing range of adaptations of these traditions for the classroom as well as research in such areas as the efficacy of these adaptations and the outcomes of using them. In addition there are websites, societies and organizations devoted to promoting this work. What is now needed is a central site where those working in these areas can locate others with similar interests and share their work with them. That is the purpose of the Mindfulness and Contemplative Education site.

This page offers and interactive site for teachers, academics, researchers and students who are utilizing and/or researching mindfulness and other contemplative processes in teaching and learning.

Fill out the registration form to set up your page. You can post your photo, c.v or brief biography, descriptions of your research projects or teaching praxis, and contact information.

Once your page is open, you can update it as new work or information comes available.