ERG SES H 12, Studies on Education
Following the theme of the ECER 2016 – “Leading Education: The Distinct Contributions of Educational Research and Researchers” – I will present what I think to be an important topic in social science and I will focus on the contribute that educational research can give to it.
The number of empirical studies and educational programs/experiences on contemplative practices in educational settings has strongly increased in the last years; however, a pedagogical and epistemological reflection on this new direction of Western education is still in its inception. With my presentation, I want to propose a theoretical framework able to support the alliance of education and contemplative practices, which for now can be named Contemplative Education (CE), whose Télos consists in promoting human flourishing at individual and social levels.
The basic idea consists in renewing the old and important concept of Paideia – or Bildung – which is crucial for the Western educational tradition, through the contamination with modern scientific theories and meditative practices. Adopting key concepts from the ancient Western educational tradition (Foucault 1988, 2005; Jaeger 2003) and from contemporary educational theories (Embodied Education, Francesconi & Tarozzi 2012), I propose a pedagogical and epistemological background to Contemplative Education, focusing specifically on two topics, a) contemplative practices as technologies of the self; b) the comparison between the concepts of know yourself (gnōthi seauton) and care for the self (epimeleia heautou), where the second one seems to fit better with CE.
Finally, I suggest that to include CE into the school system the educational community must face crucial challenges in the near future. In particular: d) designing and implementing teacher education programs able to promote the role of the teacher as Magister instead of information provider or facilitator; and e) considering schools as dynamical ecological niches where learning to be well prevails over learning to do or learning to know.
My theoretical framework is based on phenomenological pedagogy and Embodied Cognition Theory (Gallagher & Zahavi 2008; Thompson 2007; Varela et al. 1991) and on their recent combination (Francesconi 2009; 2010; Gallagher & Francesconi, 2012).
Together with the audience, I will discuss what Educational Science can say about Contemplative Practices, and which ideas and critics can be made to it.
Foucault M., Martin L. H., Gutman H., Hutton P. H. (1988). Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault. University of Massachusetts Press. Francesconi D. (2009). Embodied mind between education and cognitive sciences: Bodily consciousness and meditation training. International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, v. 4 (10), pp. 19-28. Francesconi D., (2010). The Embodied Mind: Mindfulness Meditation as Experiential Learning in Adult Education. Ph.D. thesis, University of Trento. Francesconi D., Tarozzi M. (2012). Embodied Education: A Convergence of Phenomenological Pedagogy and Embodiment, Studia Phaenomenologica, v. 12, pp. 263-288. Gallagher S. & Francesconi D. (2012). Teaching Phenomenology to Qualitative Researchers, Cognitive Scientist, Phenomenologists, Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, v. XII, pp. 263-288. Gallagher S., and Zahavi D. (2008). The Phenomenological Mind. An introduction to philosophy of mind and cognitive science, London: Routledge, 2008. Jaeger W. (2003). Paideia. La formazione dell'uomo greco, . Milano: Bompiani. Thompson E. (2007). Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Varela F. J., Thompson E., & Rosch E., (1991). The Embodied Mind. Cognitive Science and Human Experience. MIT Press: Cambridge (MA).
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