||There is a large spectrum of Mindfulness and Contemplative Practices (MCPs) which are gaining traction in the classroom. Many of these are aimed at reducing stress, reflecting on different points of view, expressing empathy, appreciating diversity and reducing absenteeism to name a few. Some of these practices hold promise to possibly improve attention, concentration and memory capabilities. However, there is no agreed consensus for what students want from MCPs (if anything), if they enjoy them, and if they want to engage in them. Further, it is likely that given the personal nature of MCPs, any findings are likely to be discipline and environment specific, if not specific to the cohort, or even the individual, warranting each educator to determine where their unique students stand.
This paper draws motivation from previous empirical research, and the desire of the authors to capture the students? voice on what they want, and what they think works. The environment is a BSc in IT programme in Dublin, Ireland. Students were invited to participate in a mindfulness and contemplative practice workshop in which a number of MCPs were explored with faculty guidance. The MCPs were tailored using results of a preworkshop questionnaire completed by students, with inspiration drawn from the Tree of Contemplative Practices (The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, 2015). During the workshop various practical sessions were led and results were captured through a postworkshop questionnaire. Results show a significant interest in MPCs, a range of motivations for engaging in them, and diverse practice interests. Overall, a high level of student engagement is a substantial outcome.
This paper looks to inform educators seeking to introduce simple contemplative pedagogy practices in the classroom, hopefully making their first attempts more fruitful by allowing them to take into account their students? perceptions and desires. This can be determined by running their own workshop with their own students, or by using the results from ours, and making adjustments as required.