Sociology) Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2496 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching

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It is also advisable for the students to process their reflections in a journal. In this way, they are encouraged to notice interconnectedness and develop their ability to contemplate. (Thompson and Thornton, 2002)

All these threads are gathered together in the work of J.P. Bean. He studied the best ways for college teachers to speak to their students -- to use words -- to enhance learning and understanding. He notes that the language to considering in remaining faculty roles is that of mysticism: "Good meditation is preferable to sophistry. In the classroom, students learn what it is to be human from teachers who are more than their subject matter specialties...." (1998)

This is central to Buddhist thought, as pointed out by Murgatroyd. Buddhists think that all lives are interdependent because each person's life is sustained by relationships with other people, plants, animals, and the environment. (2001) The same author finds that this is consistent with what the educational researchers have found. "When a person becomes alienated from an innate nature of self, often he or she feels disconnected from others as well and will begin to live in a perpetual void and confusion as if a core is missing." (Murgatroyd, 2001)Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Sociology) it Doesn't Take a Assignment

Murgatroyd notes that both Buddhism and counseling begin with knowing the nature of one's own mind before helping others; just so, teachers should understand the value of a quiet mind for learning before asking their students to meditate and to 'live in the present,' which is, after all, the only time one has. In short, meditation -- if it does nothing else for a student -- can temporarily give respite from the 'chatter' about tests and achievement and athletics and interpersonal relationships, etc. Murgatroyd points out that it can be as simple as being 'mindful,' or the age-old prescription to think before you act. It can also be more in-depth, developing insight and getting rid of 'attachment.' This sort of meditation produces a "quality of awareness, which lead to the ability to recognize reality." Moreover, and most importantly for the present discussion, "one learns how to see oneself in a clear, straightforward way, understanding one's own character and temperaments, strengths, and shortcomings." (Murgatroyd, 2001)

For the teacher, the development of tranquility allows for deeper insight into human nature, as well, which is useful for creating valuable instruction for all students. "Meditation, then, offers the possibility of reconnecting with one's innate nature, which in turn helps one live in harmony with oneself and others and recognize the interdependent nature of all lives." (Murgatroyd, 2001)

Methodology

Meditation is proposed as a means for creating a better learning environment for students and a better teaching environment for instructors, and abundant research indicates that meditation can produce the sorts of mental states needed for excellence in learning. The Waldorf Schools were founded on the holistic principles of which meditation are part and parcel. But it is still unknown how many teachers and students would participate in a program of meditation, and how such a program might be structured to best meet their needs.

The Methodology would include a survey of a single school district that does not have any meditation implemented district-wide to ascertain whether any teachers independently include meditation (under that name, or contemplation or quiet time for reflection) in their daily work with students.

Secondly, of those who do use meditation in teaching, questions will ask about where the teacher got his or her meditation training, in what cases they use meditation, what they perceive to be the results for their classes or individuals.

Of those teachers who report not using meditation, a second questionnaire would ask if they have ever meditated, or even meditate regularly. It would ask what they believe the value is to them, and what they believe the value would be to their students. They would be asked why they have not yet introduced it to their students if they do meditate. If they do or do not meditate, they would be asked under what circumstances they would introduce it in their classrooms, and what additional resources they think would be needed.

Students would also be asked whether they have ever meditated or meditate regularly. If do or do not, they would be asked if they would be willing to try it as part of the school day's curriculum to improve their experience of school.

Distribution and collection of the teacher questionnaires would be accomplished through the office of the principal and/or teacher meetings. Distribution and collection of the student questionnaires would be accomplished through the homeroom teacher.

Assessment of the questionnaires would rank answers according to strength of response, with a scale constructed from most positive to most negative.

Conclusion

The matter of uncontrollable schools is not one that is going away any time soon, nor is the administration of standardized tests. However, it is being recognized that education is a lot more than memorization, and perhaps the impoverishment of the school experience, divided into 40-minute unrelated 'sound bites' is not the best way to educate human beings. It is unworkable for many students, and stressful for most teachers. Meditation is a virtually free method of improving the mental/spiritual quality of life, and it has been around for thousands of years. It is worth looking into as we approach an even more demanding age.

References

Bean, J.P. (1998). Alternative models of professorial roles: New languages to reimagine faculty work. Journal of Higher Education, 69(5), 496+.

Bertoch, M.R. (1989). Reducing teacher stress. Journal of Experimental Education, 57(2), 117-128.

Fatt, J.P. (1998). Innovative teaching: Teaching at its best. Education, 118(4), 616+.

Iannone, R.V., & Obenauf, P.A. (1999). Toward spirituality in curriculum and teaching. Education, 119(4), 737.

Murgatroyd, W. (2001). The Buddhist spiritual path: A counselor's reflection on meditation, spirituality and the nature of life. Counseling and Values, 45(2), 94.

Petrie, G., Lindauer, P., & Tountasakis, M. (2000). Self -analysis: A… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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