Chapter 19 Heuristics for Contemplative Activities

In: Transforming Learning and Teaching
Kenneth Tobin
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Konstantinos Alexakos
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In this chapter we address the development and uses of heuristics in contemplative activities in both research and teaching. We begin with a review of Richard Davidson’s research on neuroplasticity and emotional styles. We present a heuristic to expand consciousness about each of six emotional styles, thereby raising the potential for participants in our research and teaching to change their emotional styles when the particulars of the social field suggest changes are desirable.

We discuss ways in which polyvagal theory (PVT) has been a factor in our research and teaching, especially when the expression of emotions is related to physiological changes and wellness. We include a heuristic to heighten awareness of physiological indicators such as breathing patterns, pulse rate and blood oxygenation and their relationships to a balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic innervation. We describe links of PVT to the expression and possibilities for controlling emotions such as anger, fear, happiness, and sorrow.

In our treatment of contemplative activities, we describe how Vipassana meditation and mindfulness can be used to adapt day to day activities associated with, for example, teaching and learning, and home and leisure activities.

Finally, we describe recent work on educating for death and dying and development and use of heuristics in this research. We envision most of the teaching and research involving death and dying as being situated in out of school contexts with the goal of educating a citizenry on a continuum from infant through to elderly. The heuristics we include in the chapter are most suited to middle school youth through to adults nearing the end of life, with a possibility of transition to an afterlife.

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Transforming Learning and Teaching

Heuristics for Educative and Responsible Practices

Series:  Bold Visions in Educational Research, Volume: 73
Chapter 1 Using Heuristics to Enhance the Quality of Cultural Production
Chapter 2 Coteaching: Then, Now, and in Future
Chapter 3 Expanding the Horizons of Cogenerative Dialogue
Chapter 4 Responsive Math Teaching Heuristic
Chapter 5 Developing Heuristics with Students
Chapter 6 Heuristic as a Tool for Conducting Reflexive Educational Research
Chapter 7 Minding Our Emotions through Heuristics
Chapter 8 Feeling Derivatives?
Chapter 9 Using Heuristics to Sow the Seeds of Mindfulness in Teacher Education
Chapter 10 Illuminating the Relational Nature of Teaching | Learning Using Heuristic Methodology
Chapter 11 Student Conduct Administrators and Emotions
Chapter 12 Mindfulness in Daily Life Heuristic for Cultivating an Equanimous Mind
Chapter 13 Exploring Hidden Anxiety-Provoking Experiences through the Use of Oximeter Analysis and Cogenerative Dialogue
Chapter 14 Embracing Polysemia and Polyphonia through edTPA
Chapter 15 Rationale for Designing a Life Purposes Heuristic Informed by Dignity Therapy for Community College Students
Chapter 16 Tying Knots and Weaving Ends
Chapter 17 Toward a Theory of Heuristics
Chapter 18 Conscious Spaces and Self
Chapter 19 Heuristics for Contemplative Activities


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