City College instructors are looking to integrate the stillness and breathing methods of meditation into their classes, and individualize student focus through workshops to increase success.
A Faculty Inquiry Group focusing on meditation, mindfulness and communication will meet four times throughout the semester, and will hold workshops to help faculty integrate these ideas into their teaching.
“Meditation sets the stage for the right state of mind,” said Michele Peterson, English instructor and group coordinator. “It’s all about a different way of learning through incorporating the right brain and focusing primarily on the student’s learning experience.”
The group’s 16 faculty members were chosen through an application process and each will earn $300 for attending these meetings. The group had its first of four meetings at 3:30 p.m. Friday Sept. 15 in the Humanities building.
The group is multidisciplinary and there are around 10 departments involved, from English to physical education.
Contemplative education is the philosophical practice of incorporating experience and introspection into academics. Students benefit from this practice by developing a stronger sense of self-understanding and social awareness during their educational experience.
At the first workshop, Peterson introduced the basic principles of contemplative education. Peterson is involved with yoga, and has a master’s degree in counseling psychology.
“Contemplative practices are not outside in, they’re inside out,” Peterson said. “It’s what the students find meaningful, and slowing things down to help them find their special place.”
A solid relationship between teachers and students is the key to academic success Blayze Webster, a City College student, said. His personal performance was always better when teachers made an effort to show an interest in developing a friendly relationship with students he said.
“I think it’s really important that teachers on campus put in an effort to practice this mindfulness,” said Webster. “Teachers could learn a lot from this.”
The workshops will continue throughout the semester.
Correction: Sept. 25, 2016
An earlier version of this article misstated Michele Peterson’s current position. Peterson is an English instructor, not a drug and counseling instructor. The Channels regrets the error.
This story includes grammatical or spelling corrections to a previous version.