Some Thoughts on Teaching as Contemplative Practice
by Jackie Seidel - 2006
In this article I attempt, through stories and reflections, to give voice to some contemporary experiences, including fears and difficulties, of being a teacher in the early 21st century. I explore the idea that contemplative practices might open paths for negotiating and rediscovering depth, grace, and courage in our work as teachers, in a time when such ways of living are not broadly or politically encouraged. This article thus focuses on ways in which contemplative practices become pedagogical, holding us in the present, in close proximity to the lives of the children we teach, to the places we actually live, and to the current conditions of the world both near and far—these practices, as opposed to distracting and distancing curricula and practices that seem to exist in no place or time, separate from the world, without relations, and with lofty and ungrounded goals located in the future, such as "preparing children to compete in the global economy." I reflect about ways that the practice of contemplative teaching turns our work into a form of love, memory, and intimacy, reminding us of our deep life relations through time and place, and possibly having incalculable implications for our curriculum interpretation and classroom practices.
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