Two Mind-Altering Curriculums

Two Mind-Altering Curriculums: Contemplation, Mindfulness, and the Educational Question Whether “To Think or Not to Think?”

Oren Ergas, Journal of Transformative Education, published online 23 June 2014,

Findings from neuroscience and psychological research reveal that the mind’s default state is wandering bearing directly on our well-being. These findings raise difficult questions as to the premises underlying the curriculum rendered as a “mind-altering device” (Eisner, 1993). This paper analyzes the direction of causality between “thinking” and “mind” underlying educational theory and practice. The analysis yields two complementary curriculum strands: (1) the first, concerns a common conception of the curriculum as training the student in how to think. Its direction of causality thus works from thinking to mind as it handles the mind’s deliberate thinking (2) The second, reverses the first strand’s direction of causality suggesting working from mind to thinking to handle the mind as wanderer. Its defining curriculum question shifts the axis from how to think to whether to think. This curriculum applies mind-altering pedagogies grounded in “contemplative practice” (e.g., mindfulness, yoga, and tai chi).

Oren Ergas
Adjunct, Hebrew University and Haifa University

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