Evaluating the implementation and impact of contemplative pedagogy and curriculum

Teaching and learning approaches which integrate aspects of contemplative wisdom and practice are becoming more common in tertiary education globally. While contemplative pedagogy and curriculum have gained a measure of interest and popularity, there exist very few rigorous research evaluations. Consequently, it is difficult to evaluate whether these approaches are really able to achieve their stated aims, or to offer well-founded advice about implementation in new contexts.

In this project, the research team will conduct a rigorous research evaluation of a new University of Melbourne undergraduate breadth subject – The Art and Science of Meditation —developed by staff of the Contemplative Studies Centre. In the subject students are introduced to, and invited to engage with, meditation practices from various contemplative traditions. This direct (1st person) encounter with meditative experience is then unpacked through structured dialogue with tutors and fellow students (2nd person), and contextualised through engagement with (3rd person) academic perspectives on contemporary uses of meditation from the disciplines of psychology, philosophy, history, sociology and anthropology.

This integration of critical 1st-person inquiry with intersubjective (2nd person) and objective (3rd person) perspectives forms the basis of the innovative contemplative pedagogical approach to teaching and learning. This fusion of contemplative curriculum and contemplative pedagogy has the potential to meet a unique combination of needs and aims: academic learning, personal development, and community belonging for undergraduate students.

University of Melbourne contributors:

  • Dr Christopher McCaw, Education Fellow, Contemplative Studies Centre and Lecturer, Melbourne Graduate School of Education
  • Dr Haisu Sun, Teaching Fellow, Contemplative Studies Centre
  • Dr Cullan Joyce, Insight Fellow, Contemplative Studies Centre
  • Dr Tracii Ryan, Lecturer in Higher Education, Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education
  • Associate Professor Nicholas Van Dam, Director, Contemplative Studies Centre
  • Dr Julieta Galante, Deputy Director, Contemplative Studies Centre