Contemplative Pedagogy

My philosophy of teaching assumes a scholarship in the act, and a reflective scholarship at that. I not only believe that the best teachers learn deeply by teaching, but that each of us has an obligation to pass on to students not only what we learn, but the contemplative process by which we came to it. I don’t believe as much in subject matter as I do in process. I don’t believe as much in methodology as I do in practice (one being how we plan to teach; the other, what really happens).

My practice relies on the element of surprise, and upon mindfulness. I believe, as Thomas P. Kasulis put it in “Questioning, that:

A class is … a process, an independent organism with its own goal and dynamics. It is always something more than what even the most imaginative lesson plan can predict.

Because of this, one of the most important skills a teacher can possess is mindful attention, and a willingness to see where a class is really headed, and not stick so tenaciously to his plan that he misses the brilliance of collaboration possible with his students.

The ever-evolving digital learning environments available to teachers today offer up millions of possibilities for instruction, learning, and collaboration. But all of these are only possible if we pay close attention to the technologies we use, the methodologies we inevitably must disrupt, and the innovations available not within our own minds, but within the minds of our students.