Archive of ‘contemplative pedagogy’ category

physical exercise and the brain

How physical exercise makes your brain work better

Research shows different activities have quite specific mental effects – here’s how moving your body could sharpen your ideas

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/jun/18/how-physical-exercise-makes-your-brain-work-better

Just 10 minutes of playful coordination skills, like bouncing two balls at the same time, improved the attention of a large group of German teenagers.

oga teaches the deliberate command of movement and breathing, with the aim of turning on the body’s “relaxation response”. Science increasingly backs this claim. For example, a 2010 study put participants through eight weeks of daily yoga and meditation practice. In parallel with self-reported stress-reduction, brain scans showed shrinkage of part of their amygdala, a deep-brain structure strongly implicated in processing stress, fear and anxiety.

Walking, either on a treadmill or around Stanford’s leafy campus, bolstered divergent thinking: the free-roaming, idea-generating component of creative thought. It didn’t help convergent thinking, though.

more on mindfulness in this IMS blog:

http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=mindfulness

mindful tech

Mindful Tech: Establishing a Healthier and More Effective Relationship with Our Digital Devices and Apps
Tuesdays, June 7 and 14, 2016, 1:00 – 2:30 pm Central Time
David Levy, Information School, University of Washington

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to attend these personally helpful sessions.

Register Now for this 2 part webinar

“There is a long history of people worrying and complaining about new technologies and also putting them up on a pedestal as the answer…

As a society, I think we’re beginning to recognize this imbalance, and we’re in a position to ask questions like “How do we live a more balanced life in the fast world? How do we achieve adequate forms of slow practice?”

David Levy – See more at: http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/mindful-tech/#sthash.9iABezUN.dpuf

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xiv. fast world and slow world practices. always-on lifestyle.

p. 3. our devices have vastly extended our attentional choices, but the human attentional capacity remains unchanged. how to make wise choices and figure out what constitutes a wise choice, so we can use our digital tools to their best advantage and to ours.
by paying attention how you use your cellphone, how you handle email, how you feel when you are on FB or Pinterest, or when you multitask, you will be able to see which aspects of your current online practices are working well and which aren’t. seeing these will clearly will allow you to make constructive changes.
premise: we function more effectively and more healthfully online when we are more attentive, relaxed, and emotionally balanced. Also stated as negative: we function less effectively and less healthfully online when we are distracted, physically uncomfortable, and emotionally upset. that happens often when we are online. Good news – we can do something about it.
P. 4 engage and strengthen two forms of attention : 1. the ability to stay focused on what you are doing at the moment. 2. self-observation / self-awareness

p. 24. each excercise follows the same six-part structure

step 1: perform primary practice (email, FB etc)
step 2: observe what are you doing and feelig, paying special atention to what is happening in your mind and body as you engage in your primary practicestep 3: log your observation, in written form
step 4: consolidate observations by summarizing
step 5: formulate personal guidelines based on consolidated observatins
step 6: share and discuss with others

p. 25-26. mindfulness: the ability to direct your attention where you want it to go – to have a choice. in a world, where we are surrounded by advertisements, sales pitches, the biggest, best, and brightest promised of happiness and fulfillment that money can buy, not to mention the clear constant information overload of emails, status updates, tweets, photo albums, Netflix queues, RSS feeds, playin whack-a-mole with phone notifications. I wish I could say that we,  could get away, but i don’t think that as a society we can, or even that we should (this is where Turkle cannot help).

p. 27 two modes of attention
p. 27 one is like a flash light in a dark room: you see a chair; move to the left, you see something else.
p. 28 the other mode is to go beyond focusing on a single object, but opening up to the surrounding environment. like the same flash beam, but instead intense narrowed one, this is a diffused allowing to cover more, but with less visual acuity.
p. 29 both modes can exclude each other

p. 30 attentional shift, attentional choice
how to deploy our task focus (focused attention) to our self-awareness (open attention)
the brain has two different attentional systems: one is top-down and is under conscious control. the bottom-up system, an earlier evolutionary development, is completely automated. scanning the enthronement for potential threats, alerting us to them whether we want or not, since it is hard wired.

p. 31-32 interruption have two varieties: external ones: sounds, smells, movements, physical contact. internal interruptions are: hunger, mental activity (remembering late appointment).
we cannot turn alerting mechanisms, but we can minimize distractions.
we cannot turn everything off and eliminate all interruptions. what we can do is to notice them as they arise and make a decision how to proceed and face them – whether to respond in the moment or ignore them.

32. multitasking
it is now clearly established that we can mainly focus on only one thing at the a time. thus we have the ability to prioritize and focus on only one task.

34. emotions and the stress response

p. 40 strengthening task focus

mindful breathing – optional
simplest and most widespread form of attention training uses the breath as the object of focus. when mind wanders, bring back focus on your in- and out-breath: focusing, opening (noticing) and choosing. focus on your breath, notice when you have strayed and choose to come back to the breath

p. 41 strengthening self-observation / awareness
p. 42 Exercise 1. Observing email

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more on mindfulness in this IMS blog

http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=mindfulness

more on the contemplative practices, contemplative computing specifically in this IMS blog

http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=contemplative

rethinking intelligence

Rethinking Intelligence: How Does Imagination Measure Up?

http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/04/11/rethinking-intelligence-how-does-imagination-measure-up

Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman When he was young, Kaufman had central auditory processing disorder, which made it hard for him to process verbal information in real time. He was asked to repeat third grade because he was considered a “slow” learner.

Kaufman thinks the traditional IQ test does a good job of measuring general cognitive ability, but says it misses all the ways that ability interacts with engagement. An individual’s goals within the learning classroom and excitement about a topic affect how he or she pursues learning, none of which is captured on IQ tests. Worse, those tests are often used to filter people in or out of special programs.

FOUR PRACTICES TO CULTIVATE CHILDREN’S CREATIVITY

  1. allowing more solitary reflective time in kids’ schedules. Whether it’s the constant demands on attention at school or in after-school activities, there often isn’t enough time in a child’s day when she can switch off the executive functioning network and tap into the imagination network.
  2. “We support obsessive passion, but not harmonious passion,” Kaufman said. He defines harmonious passion as a core part of people’s identity that makes them feel good about themselves. Harmonious passion is characterized by flexible engagement, where a child can abandon the pursuit if it isn’t paying dividends.
  3. give young kids a diverse set of experiences in order to increase the chances of inspiration. “Lots of things add meaning to our lives,” he said.
  4. educators, parents, and policymakers need to reset their mindsets around student ability. “Kids who think differently are not appreciated in our school system at all

it’s even worth measuring imagination, but Kaufman believes that measurement is important so researchers can see how changing behavior affects creative achievement. But he hopes the measurements are never used as another sorting mechanism.

My note: Kaufman makes a new call for an old trend. The futility of testing is raging across the United States K12 system. Higher education is turned into the last several decades (similarly to the United States health care system) into a cash cow. When the goal is profit, then good education goes down the drain. Cultivating children’s creativity cannot happen, when the foremost goals to make more money, which inevitably entails spending less cash (not only on teacher’s salaries).

 

mindfulness in the classroom

Calming the teenage mind in the classroom

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/08/health/mindfulness-teenagers-schools-stress/

Lexxi Seay, a senior, was skeptical. “I actually never believed really in meditation. … I thought it was a joke,” she said during an interview.

Students “are just craving for ways to handle and cope with their stress” in healthy and nondestructive ways, said Gueritault. “It becomes sort of like instinctive and intuitive for them to just search for alternative ways to cope with their stress that have nothing to do with drugs or alcohol or whatever destructive behavior.”

More on mindfulness in education in this IMS blog:

http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/?s=mindfulness&submit=Search

slow professor

The slow professor

The authors of a new book challenge what they call the “frantic pace” of contemporary university life.

MOIRA FARR | March 29, 2016
My note:
In 2002, “slow food” was celebrated. As against “fast food” http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1152040.
In 2014, NPR aired a similar story regarding “slow medicine”: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/12/05/368736643/if-slow-is-good-for-food-why-not-medicine
Finally, academia is catching up with the “slow” movements.
Berg, M., & Seeber, B. (2016). Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy. University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division.
“Distractedness and fragmentation characterize contemporary academic life”
A number of factors. Over the last two decades, we’ve seen increases in class sizes, the casualization of academic labour, administrative bloating, the shift toward quantification of our time and our output. Pressures to publish, new technology, the downloading of tasks and the confusion it creates – these all have led to a situation where we spend less time talking face-to-face with each other and more time multitasking. There seems to be less sense of community and collegiality.

mindfulness programs in school

What Changes When a School Embraces Mindfulness?

http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/03/30/what-changes-when-a-school-embraces-mindfulness/

The program is a blend of neuroscience, social and emotional tenets like empathy and perspective taking, and mindfulness, a practice which many schools have already started exploring. Several programs teach mindfulness in schools, including Mindful Schools.

More on mindfulness in education in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/?s=mindfulness&submit=Search
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/?s=contemplative&submit=Search

poems and storytelling

4 Reasons to Start Class With a Poem Each Day

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/start-class-poem-each-day-brett-vogelsinge

I get a few sideways glances and furrowed brows when I explain our daily opening routine for class.

1. Poems Are Short

2. Poems Are Intense

3. Poems Connect (to Other Reading)

4. Poems Inspire (Writing)

More on digital storytelling in this IMS blog:

http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/?s=digital+storytelling&submit=Search

engagement and contemplative practices

The On Course National Conference

http://oncourseworkshop.com/national-conference-overview/

has several sessions of interest:

Padlet Possibilities – Using Their Phones to Keep Their Attention in Class
Presenters: Kathy Magee and Paul Phillips, Faculty, Occupational Health and Safety, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
Summary: Tired of fighting your students’ phones for their attention? Maybe it’s because the phone is more interesting than the lesson (or worse, than you). Why not use those phones to encourage participation in the day’s classroom activities and keep the on the learning and lessons you have planned. This session will have participants using their Ipads, tablets, and phones to access Padlet in order to identify, discuss, and adapt ways that this free software can be used in multi-disciplines.

Using PBL, and Active and Collaborative Techniques in Science Teaching
Presenter: Stamatis Muratidis, Faculty, Chemistry, Palo Alto College, TX
Summary: Participants interested in tips for successfully involving students by developing Active and Collaborative Learning (ACL) techniques will be engaged by use of a variety of topics, models and tools. Most of the workshop will take place in a collaborative group format and best practices for forming, molding and nurturing collaborative groups will be emphasized. Along the way the presenter will be promoting data-driven best practices, while identifying and mitigating some of the common pitfalls of implementing PBL and ACL activities.

Relax, Reflect, Relate: 3 R’s of Contemplative Practice
Presenter: William H. Johnson, Jr., Student Success Coordinator/Personal Development Coach, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC
Summary: Is life moving too fast? Are you busy beyond belief? Well, slow down! Would you attend a session that allows you to take the time to relax and be still, reflect on your life, and relate your thoughts and feelings to others? If you answered “yes” to at least one of these questions, then this workshop is for you. Research has shown that people applying some type of contemplative practice in their lives are likely to be more engaged, and are healthier and happier in life. Attendees in this session will participate in two forms of contemplative practice – meditation and reflective writing – that enhance personal growth. By the end of the session, you will learn strategies to quiet the mind, engage the spirit, and connect with others!

Study Smarter, Not Just Harder!
Presenter: Amy Munson, Director of Instructional Design, United States Air Force Academy
Summary: The United States Air Force Academy Science of Teaching and Learning program is conducting a study on how students learn about their own learning. The research team hypothesizes that students learn more from peers than from “outsiders” such as faculty members and has set out to develop a peer training and messaging program alongside a faculty training and messaging program using the same three highly successful learning/self-management strategies. On Course structures and strategies were implemented for the training components as researchers shared the benefits of practice testing, spaced practice and successive relearning as defined in Dunlosky and Rawson’s meta-analysis of learning strategies. This workshop will give participants an opportunity to learn more about those three strategies while also learning about how to implement a student “train the trainer” program.

 

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