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Tuesday, March 2 • 12:00pm - 12:15pm
Talk Session 3: Creating compassionate environments in engineering education through contemplative practices: A story of one Physics Foundation experience for engineers

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Student learning, persistence, and well-being are promoted by supportive and compassionate learning environments that allow students to explore and be their whole selves. Contemplative pedagogies, which integrate body and mind as well as experience and knowledge, help accomplish this by creating an atmosphere of trust and belonging where all students’ diverse ways of being and knowing are seen and accepted. To this end, we embedded contemplative practices (e.g., sensory meditation, deep listening, beholding, contemplative movement, critical reflection) in a Physics Foundation course to increase student awareness of how physics, specifically, as well as science and engineering, more generally, apply to human experiences as embodied beings in the physical universe. This pedagogical practice also allowed students to reflect on themselves as learners with unique ways of knowing and develop self-directed learning skills, including curiosity, empathy, and communication. Analyses of students’ weekly reflective assignments demonstrate that this learning environment provided them with a scaffolded opportunity for self-discovery, personal growth, and re-examining science/engineering through their diverse ways of being and knowing. In their assignments, students reflected that this type of experience was personally and professionally valuable, but otherwise absent in their engineering education.

avatar for Madhvi Venkatesh

Madhvi Venkatesh

Lecturer & Associate Director of Graduate Education, Harvard Medical School
Madhvi Venkatesh is a Lecturer and Associate Director of Graduate Education in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology (BCMP) at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a Visiting Scholar-in-Residence at Olin College of Engineering. At HMS, she works closely with... Read More →
avatar for Yevgeniya Zastavker

Yevgeniya Zastavker

Professor of Physics and Education, Olin College of Engineering

Tuesday March 2, 2021 12:00pm - 12:15pm CST