Exploring the Transformative Aspects of a MEd Program in Contemplative Education

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Heesoon Bai, Faculty of Education

Project team: Laurie Anderson and Charles Scott, Faculty of Education, Muga Miyakawa and Meena Mangat, research assistants

Timeframe: June 2017 to June 2018

Funding: $6000

Program addressed: Contemplative Inquiry and Approaches in Education (CIAE) M.Ed. program

Final report: View Heesoon Bai's final report (PDF)

Description: The Contemplative Inquiry and Approaches in Education (CIAE) M.Ed. program was designed to fill the growing hunger for contemplative perspectives and practices in our educational institutions, communities and world at large. The core concern of this field is the cultivation of foundational humanity. Theoretical exploration of the key concepts and practices, such as mindful awareness, mind-body integration, wellbeing, ethical integrity and authenticity, and compassion are based in curriculum as “living inquiry.”

In our first research project, (view Heesoon Bai’s first project here >>), we “recorded [the students’] thoughts concerning what they were learning in this program.” That is, the research inquiries were quite broad and did not have quite the theoretical focus and grounding that this project now employs. Rather than just receive generalized, non-specific replies to basic inquiries about what students learned, we now want to focus on the curricular and pedagogical practices that have contributed to the students’ learning, growth, and development.

We learned from the first project that the students very much appreciated the curricular resources that were made available and, especially, the pedagogical approaches that they found both supportive and somewhat unique in their formal learning experiences. We now have an opportunity to focus in on those details.

In our previous report, we pointed to the principle of “we teach who we are”; we now are in a position to ask students about the impact the faculty members’ beingness had on students’ experience. In addition, with the passage of time, we are in a good position, longitudinally, to inquire about the lasting impacts of the program and the first cohort students’ perceptions of their experiences in the program. As well, a theme that has been present in the program since the beginning is an integrated, holistic model of growth and development.

Questions addressed:

  • How would students describe their experiences in the M.Ed. CIAE program, both individually and overall?
  • What curriculum elements (resources--course/program documents, books, articles, A/V resources) contributed to the transformative experience of students?
  • What pedagogical approaches contributed to the transformative experience of students?
  • What improvements in curriculum (what is taught) could be implemented to improve the experience for students?
  • What improvements in pedagogy (the manner of teaching) could be implemented to improve the experience for students?

Knowledge sharing: Meeting with colleagues; distribution of final report via email and uploading to SFU Canvas. The findings could be useful to other faculty members in program design and understanding effective pedagogical practices. Dissemination in academic conference and/or scholarly publication.

Bai, H. (2018, March). Graduate school as Bardo: Contemplative inquiry, ecology, and justice. Keynote address, Faculty of Education at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON

Bai, H. (2017, March). Becoming an ethical self through contemplative ways. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society, Seattle, WA

Miyakawa, M., Mangat, M., & Bai, H. (2019, April). Pedagogical infusion of the contemplative: Simon Fraser University’s Contemplative Inquiry Master’s of Education Program in Canada. In K. W. Brown (Chair), Contemplative Pedagogies and Profound Transformation of Teaching, Learning, and Being. Symposium conducted at the American Educational Research Association  (AERA) 2019 Annual Meeting, Toronto, ON.

Scott, C., & Bai, H. (2017, September). A community of the spirit: Stories from a Master’s program in contemplative inquiry a Master of Education Contemplative Inquiry Program. Paper presented at the Biannual Meeting of the Holistic Teaching and Learning conference: Exploring Wholeness: Connecting Voices and Visions, Ashland, OR

Keywords: Transformative Learning; Contemplation; Contemplative Inquiry; Holistic Education; Intersubjectivity; Inner Work; Mindfulness; Critical Reflexivity; Meditation; Embodied Learning