Pedagogies of presence : contemplative education across the disciplines in Aotearoa New Zealand : a dissertation presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education at Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand

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Massey University
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This study investigated contemplative pedagogy and practice within New Zealand universities, in the form of both mindfulness interventions targeting wellness and connection, and classroom pedagogy fostering attentional, critical, and creative thinking. Little previous research had been undertaken on the topic in this country. The integrated research design developed for the project - Critical Realist Mixed Methods Sequential Explanatory Design (CRMMSED) - included two phases, an extensive exploratory survey phase (n = 258), and an intensive, in-depth interview phase (n = 22). Critical Realist abductive and dialectical analyses took place alongside statistical and thematic analyses. The findings show that educators incorporate contemplative methods to address pressing issues ranging from student stress to climate change. Most contemplative teaching takes place within extant disciplinary framings. Key entry points into academia are through reflective practice in the contexts of professional education, critical social justice teaching, and creative projects. The study suggests that contemplative education arises in response to complex social factors involving several disconnects - with nature, people, the self, and the capacity for self-transcendence. This emergence is an outworking of historical forces and a response to research showing the potential of contemplative education for ameliorating difficult problems.
Listed in 2020 Dean's List of Exceptional Theses
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College teaching, New Zealand, Philosophy, Reflective teaching, Reflective learning, Transformative learning, Contemplation, contemplative education, mindful education, critical realism, mixed methods, Dean's List of Exceptional Theses