Including children’s perceptions from meditation in a discussion about reflective practices in education

lcj 18 coverSue Erica Smith

LCJ: Special Edition: Narrative Inquiry, 18, pp. 88-98
http://doi.org/10.18793/LCJ2015.18.09

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Citation
Smith, S.E. (2015). Including children’s perceptions from meditation in a discussion about reflective practices in education. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts [Special Issue: Narrative Inquiry], 18, 88-98. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18793/LCJ2015.18.09.

 

Abstract

This paper is a co-constructed narrative comprising of inputs from children and their teachers and contextualisation from the embedded position of the chief investigator in this study to gain insights into how a group of class of Year 5-6 primary school students experienced meditation. The study is situated in a Buddhist Religious Instruction class, where learning was conducted inside a designated weekly half hour session. In accordance with the cultivation of individual responsibility and executive function that is the ethos of Buddhist pedagogy participating students and their volunteer teacher were invited into the research as research inquirers. Again the tradition exhorts the role of an experienced teacher to guide what can become an intrapersonal learning journey through meditation.  At a time where mindfulness exercises and permutations have captured the public imaginary, and where educators are showing increasing interest, the discussion is timely. While the study is directed towards secular and plural educational applications, reference to the tradition that has borne mindfulness alerts the field to some considerations as to how the uptake of mindfulness in schools might be applied with further rigour and integrity. Further, the utilisation of children’s drawings of happiness scales and their added narratives offers a way in which research into the interior experiences of children might be conducted. Their insights from experience in meditation supports findings from clinical studies with children, and poses a viable addition to current reflective, wellbeing and resilience strategies in education.

 

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