A Moment, Unplugged: Facilitating Contemplative Practice in the Classroom

Dr. Cheryl Hoy Amanda McGuire Rzicznek Elizabeth Zemanski Cheryl Lachowski

General Studies Writing Program - Bowling Green State University

Over the last decade or so of teaching undergraduates, it seems to have become increasingly more difficult for students to pay attention in class. While, historically, attention challenges have always been a part of higher education, with the rapid advancement in communication and social media technologies, the number of distracted students has grown exponentially (“Media multi-tasking,” 2015). Moreover, each semester, students appear to be facing more personal and academic challenges. They are bombarded with continual pressures and distractions from the media and technological gizmos, and they become conditioned in ways not conducive to being attentive (Purcell et al., 2012). Our journey into contemplative pedagogy began when we started searching for strategies that would eliminate, or at least reduce, distractions in the classroom and aid in increasing student focus, awareness, and learning in our courses. Each of us began integrating different contemplative practices into the classroom and then we began discussing our experiences and the effects on students. Our conclusion is that these practices are effective for helping students get to a place where they can engage in the learning process more fully.