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Open Access Capstone

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The purpose of this study is to explore how contemplative education can have a viable role in education. In the first part of this thesis I will share my own personal experience with contemplative practices and how they led to my personal growth and transformation.

The second part will give some brief insights about the benefits the ancient wisdom traditions Hinduism and Buddhism attributed to contemplative practices. They claim that those practices help to reach a state of expanded awareness and stillness of the mind. Contemplative practices such as mindfulness, which is a Buddhist meditation technique, were used to better understand and train the mind. In those ancient traditions it was believed that contemplative practices could enhance the attention and expand the awareness, and cultivate kindness, empathy and altruism. Those practices were therefore used intentionally for personal growth and social transformation.

The study of the use of contemplative practices in medicine and psychology will be discussed in the third part of thesis. The practice of mindfulness is currently used in mental health to help patients suffering from anxiety, depression, personality disorders, insomnia, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit disorders. It is also successfully used with cancer patients to reduce their physical pain. There is a significant body of research on the effects of meditation on our brain and behavior.

Demonstrated benefits of contemplative practices include stress reduction, enhanced attention and awareness abilities, improved self-regulation and enhanced empathy awareness. The expansion of the body of research on contemplative practices lead to an increased interest in those practices by the education systems. All those benefits of those practices for learning and character development will be investigated in the fourth part of the thesis.

The fifth part will explore the benefits of the use of contemplative practices for teachers and their potential to generate a good classroom climate.

The sixth and last part of the thesis will discuss how contemplative practices can be applied to international education, in developing countries and, more specifically, in emergency education.