Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
This Work-in-Progress paper describes a collaboration that aims to integrate art, teaching, learning, research and activist work through the union of four instructors, three undergraduate teaching assistants, and their seven unique ways of knowing that are grounded in our differences - ethnicity, cultures of origin, first language, education, artistic craft, age, class, gender, wisdom traditions. We bring our differences to co-create a new educational paradigm for the students at a small engineering college by extending Belenke et al. (1986) framework of “silence, received knowledge, subjective knowledge, procedural knowledge, and constructed knowledge” to include embodied and other ways of knowing. Through this framework of more inclusive ways of knowing, we create learning opportunities for all students, particularly those underprivileged by current Western, male-centric pedagogical practices that divorce body from mind and experience from knowledge. By removing these dualisms through and within the learning experience we co-create, we work with our students to “render science more accessible to [everyone and particularly to] women and underprivileged communities, [and] also help cultivate citizenry for action and change” (Wilcox, 2009). More specifically, we create an educational scaffolding for a new Physics Foundation offering that aims to develop learners’ capacity for deeper self-awareness and reflection as well as engages them in (1) considerations of interdisciplinary perspectives that transcend the boundaries between science, engineering, mathematics, liberal arts, and humanities; (2) growth to become more aware of applications of physics/science to collective and individual human experience; (3) development of sense-making of human experiences as embodied beings in the physical universe (Krusberg & Ward, 2018); (4) reflection on themselves as learners with their unique ways of knowing; (5) development of skills for open-ended learning environments, including life-long learning, communication, and teamwork.
To achieve these goals, we use contemplative practices (e.g., sensory meditation and visualization, deep listening, beholding, contemplative movement, and critical reflection) to co-create science through constructed and embodied ways of knowing, thereby shifting learners’ perception of what is known, how it is known, by whom, and with what tools. For example, as students participate in iterative kinesthetic model-building, they “can start to understand more viscerally what the structures are, and how some models are more robust than others” (Grabel et al, 2017).
Our work combines areas of interdisciplinary exploration in education that have, to our knowledge, previously remained isolated from one another; these areas include embodying science/physics concepts, using embodiment as a form of research and inquiry, and utilizing contemplative practices in higher education. As this experiment is ongoing at the time of this abstract, our research program is at its early stages. The data sources for this study include classroom observations, students’ weekly reflective assignments, and post-experience interviews. Using grounded theory as the main driving mechanism for analyzing qualitative data, we hope to shed light on how this learning environment creates learning opportunities for all students in all their diverse ways of being and knowing as well as whether and how achievement of the goals above is possible through this unique learning environment.
Venkatesh, M. J., & Zastavker, Y. V., & Berke, E., & Bermejo, J., & Freeman, D., & Fry, A. M., & Hindelang, A. L. (2020, June), Contemplative Practices as a Way of Creating Inclusive Environments in Engineering Education: A Story of One Physics Foundation Experience for Engineers Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34329
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015