Bridgewater State University Teacher-Scholar Summer Institute
Margaret Lowe, Professor of History
Michelle H. Mamberg, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Brief description of theme
In a week of intensive conversation and inter-disciplinary collaboration, BSU faculty will explore and practice the art of reflective teaching. Though reflective teaching has many meanings, we draw from the field of contemplative pedagogy to define it as using intentional practices which aim to increase concentration and awareness of one's own reactions. These techniques provide opportunities for students and faculty to be more fully attentive to both content and learning processes in the classroom. Inspired by the wealth of recent studies that demonstrate the benefits of reflective teaching, this track will offer faculty the opportunity to consider if and how they might directly integrate such theories and practices into their discipline-specific classroom pedagogy. We intend to create a workshop atmosphere where faculty learn as much from each other as from the facilitators, and where they feel encouraged to take risks - whether large or small - to experiment with reflective teaching methods.
1. Participants will acquire an understanding of contemplative pedagogy and mindfulness-based practices in order to investigate the potential benefits of such techniques in their professional lives (e.g. journal writing, meditation, close readings, and purposeful goal-setting).
2. Participants will explore the potential benefits of reflective teaching to BSU's student population, especially those learners from traditionally under-represented groups (e.g., increasing retention and a sense of belonging, improving concentration, goal-setting, and time-management).
3. Each participant will apply the methods learned by tailoring the approaches (1) to their specific discipline and major (2) to their other professional goals (e.g., scholarship or service) and (3) to at least one aspect of an existing syllabus or a course currently in development.
4. Facilitators will create a faculty network or teaching circle in the following academic year to conduct on-going dialogue and to help participants to assess the implementation of course changes derived during the institute.
Accomplishing these outcomes
There are three main components to this track which will facilitate participants' achieving the stated learning objectives: (1) experiential learning in which each facilitator leads a practice (one per day) for the group, then discusses the participants' experiences with that practice; (2) presentation of related strategies and techniques for incorporating such practices into class work or otherwise altering syllabi - with a focus on how certain practices may work best with certain disciplines, and (3) group discussion and workshops of individuals' own revisions of their courses based on the material discussed and exercises experienced.
From the contemplative pedagogical perspective, faculty member's own development of increased awareness and self-reflection will impact their teaching, so all 3 components will focus both on the content of course revision and the process of becoming more mindful of one's own style, strategies, goals, etc., in the classroom. Each day will have a theme to focus discussions: General Overview of Reflective Teaching (Monday), Specific Reflection on faculty's own teaching style and goals (Tuesday), Application of reflective teaching to faculty's own courses (Wednesday) and Cross-campus Collaboration (Thursday) in which we connect what has been learned during the week to professional activities outside the classroom. Throughout the week, faculty will have time to contemplate how they might bring the ideas and practices presented directly to bear on a particular syllabus or classroom activity. We hope in this way to engage participants in a reflective process while supporting them in the creation of a concrete outcome which, in turn, will help them to engage their students in similar reflective processes.
Fulfilling Institute goals and BSU's strategic goals
1. Lay the groundwork for on-going opportunities for cross-discipline, diverse, and inter-campus collaboration which foster community building [Strategic Goals 1, 4 & 5; Focus Area #4].
2. Demonstrate Reflective Teaching techniques as a means to invigorate participants' teaching and service, by offering specific paths for professional renewal [Strategic Goals 1, 4, 5; Area #2].
3. Explain highly adaptable concepts and practices which individual faculty can tailor to their own professional goals (teaching, service, community outreach and scholarship) goals [Strategic Goals 1 & 2].
4. Share pedagogical methods that will foster student retention and leadership, as well as their post-BSU career planning (including graduate studies) [Strategic Goals 1 & 2].
dialogue about, and commitment to, social justice inquiry (whether in relation
to diversity, service learning, sustainability, global studies, academic
access, etc.) [Strategic Goals 4 & 5].
Facilitators' faculty development experience
Together with two colleagues, Drs. Lowe and Mamberg designed and conducted the 2010 CART Celebration Roundtable,"Contemplative Practices in the Classroom: A Cross-Discipline Discussion" for faculty participants.
Margaret Lowe. During her tenure at BSU, Maggie Lowe has led and participated in a wide variety of faculty development initiatives including serving as Project Director of two Teaching American History Grants, liaison for T.I.E., Coordinator of the Women's Studies Program, and has offered numerous discussion forums. Specific to contemplative pedagogy, she attended the week-long Summer Session, "Contemplative Curriculum Development" (Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, 2008), "Uncovering the Heart of Higher Education: Integrative Learning for Compassionate Action in an Interconnected World" (February 2007) and presented "Transforming the Classroom in Just One Minute: Using 'Arrival Moments' in American History Courses," Contemplative Mind in Higher Education Conference (April 2009).
Michelle H. Mamberg. As a clinical psychologist, Michelle Mamberg has supervised and trained mental health professionals in clinical and research settings; she has also conducted professional-level stress reduction workshops. Since 2007, Dr. Mamberg has received training in the teaching of the 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at U. Mass. Medical School's Center for Mindfulness. As a visiting Assistant Professor at Hanover College, she conducted a faculty development workshop entitled, "What's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Doing in the Classroom?" and similar staff development trainings.
Burggraff & Grossenbacher (2007) "Contemplative Modes of Inquiry in Liberal Arts Education." LiberalArtsOnline
Kabat-Zinn's (2005) Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World through Meditation
(foremost organization/web site in the field) and
Last Modified: September 27, 2012