A Tale of Two Movements: What Transformative and Contemplative Education Can Learn from Each Other
How can we work together to create educational systems that support students in becoming compassionate, competent, and responsible members of the wider community? While justice and fairness are needed to support effective participation in the classroom, how do we ensure that students feel they belong and are included in the educational process? Together, we will explore a vision of education that draws from and includes the strengths of both the contemplative and transformative education movements. Both the contemplative and transformative fields of education are concerned with systemic positive change in education. Contemplative education integrates practices that promote self-reflection, compassion, and an ability to become more aware of one’s perceptions and actions. The contemplative focuses on the “inner” dimension of being and strives for an integration of the inner and the outer. The transformative education field seeks to develop the social skills and ethical dispositions necessary to support effective participation in a democracy that is just and fair to all of its citizens. Both approaches have much to teach and learn from each other. This dialogue will enable us to inhabit the space of a South African proverb, Sawubona, which means “We see you.” By “seeing” each other beyond our differences we can create community that can support the personal and socially transformative ways of living and being in an increasingly complex world.