The New York Times recently had an article on mindfulness meditation, which is a psychotherapeutic method that focuses on awareness and release of emotions. This is related to “just being,” rather than a focus on “doing” something active, so concepts and memories get “reframed” so that a person can recall difficult situations and experiences and learn to endure them while coming from a place of peace and quiet.
While this work comes out of the psychotherapy literature with a Buddhist twist, it reminds me in many ways of Reflective Practice. Donald Schon initiated this concept to mean “thoughtfully considering one’s own experiences in applying knowledge to practice while being coached by professionals in the discipline.” I am an adherent of this educational philosophy (as noted in my blog’s by-line), and regularly read the same-named journal and enjoyed the MIT course (available free online).
Aren’t these two similar, and perhaps related? Don’t I need to be quiet in order to reflect on and reframe my experiences into new next steps, ones that are better informed for having processed the initial occurrences themselves? Isn’t that what I do as an educator, to best meet the needs of my students? Isn’t that what is informing the new edupunk movement? Shouldn’t that help with the next presidential election, the rise in prices associated with fossil fuels, and even terrorism?
Once again, as what is becoming a mantra for me:
There are no unrelated fields of study nor experiential horizons.