Reflections on critical contemplative pedagogy – two perspectives

I was excited to realise that it wasn’t only me writing about critical contemplative pedagogy in the most recent issue of The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry. Michelle Chatman, who so generously contributed to the 2018 Contemplative Pedagogy Symposium and on whose singing I reflected in my own article, had also contributed a paper on this topic.

In this blog I have chosen to include the abstracts of our different and yet complementary papers, as well as the full text PDF documents if you wish to explore either paper further. With many thanks to The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry for allowing me to share the full text in this way.

Advancing Black Youth Justice and Healing through Contemplative Practices and African Spiritual Wisdom

Michelle C. Chatman, University of the District of Columbia

Enduring constructs of inequity seem to perpetually devalue Black youth, casting them as insignificant and disposable. Critical contemplative pedagogy can help us disrupt the damaging narratives and systems that impede youth thriving, while also awakening us to a deeper knowing of justice. In this reflective essay, I offer a reimagining of Black youth through the use of contemplative practices and West African cultural wisdom.

CHATMAN, Michelle C. Advancing Black Youth Justice and Healing through Contemplative Practices and African Spiritual Wisdom. The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry, [S.l.], v. 6, n. 1, Jan. 2020.

The Contemplative and Critical in Community

Caroline Barratt, University of Essex

In this paper, I reflect on my experience of organising and participating in the Contemplative Pedagogy Symposium in the UK in August 2018. The event brought together educators with an interest in contemplative pedagogy, living and working together as a learning community for four days. A sense of deep connection developed as we dared to explore social justice, discrimination, industrial action, the neoliberalisation of higher education, and how our work in the classroom engaged with or was affected by these issues. The feeling of community that emerged from being able to sit with what was beautiful and ugly, joyful and painful has flowered in the months since and generated the energy and commitment to sustain difficult and important work. The event clearly demonstrated to me how the contemplative can bring us into a closer relationship with the critical. Contemplative practice is about not putting our heads in the sand but developing the awareness and responsiveness capable of holding our own vulnerability whilst engaging creatively with that which threatens us. It is through working closely with other educators who are similarly committed, open, and kind that I have come to see how contemplative practice can develop the courage and patience we need to let down our defences and see the world differently.

BARRATT, Caroline. The Contemplative and Critical in Community. The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry, [S.l.], v. 6, n. 1, Jan. 2020.

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