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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Candidate in Philosophy

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

Year Degree Awarded

2016

Month Degree Awarded

September

First Advisor

Cristine S. Crispin

Second Advisor

Bjorn H. Nordtveit

Third Advisor

Alice C. Harris

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction

Abstract

ABSTRACT

CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICES AND LEARNING:

A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO EDUCATION IN BHUTAN

May 2016

Yang Gyeltshen, DAUS, University of New Brunswick Canada

M.Ed., University of New Brunswick Canada

Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst

Directed by: Professor Cristine S. Crispin

This study examines the comments, behavior, and products of young student monks, who are exposed to an integrated curriculum of contemplative practices and secular lessons, about whether and how they bring their social-emotional learning from the contemplative practices to bear when learning secular functional skills and knowledge. At the beginning of my self-study, I hypothesized that an integrated curriculum of secular learning combined with contemplative practices would result in deeper learning, based on the research and literature on the connection between affective and cognitive learning. My findings support and do not negate previous research that an integrated curriculum, integrating contemplative practices with secular studies—affective and cognitive learning—contributes both to one’s affective, social and emotional development and to improved cognitive learning. My observations of students’ comments, behavior and products lead me to propose that the Dharma lessons incorporated in each thematic unit in the Lhomon Education curriculum work toward that end. I propose that contemplative practices help to build critical, problem-solving, analytic and cognitive skills that educators strive to develop in students. My proposition—and that of Bhutan—is that the ultimate goal of education should be well-being and happiness, and the purpose of education should be to create those conditions that will enable the pursuer to strive for this fundamental goal.

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