using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : January 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2007 68 child, and all parts of the teacher, in the process of education. Be- yond that, they are fostering a nurturing and caring climate in the classroom, and even expanding the object of study to include the workings of the mind itself. Some call it “contemplative educa- tion”; others are reluctant to name it anything just yet. The com- mon thread that runs through the comments of all of the educators I spoke with, though, is that school can be a place of tremendous discovery, and real discovery requires all the resources of body, mind, and spirit that teacher and student can muster. THE GARRISON INSTITUTE in Upstate New York was founded in 2002 “to explore the intersection of contemplative and spiri- tual experience with engaged action in the world.” One of its ini- tiatives is called Awareness and Concentration for Learning, and over the next three years, it will “promote the research and imple- mentation of contemplation-based interventions in the Ameri- can public school setting.” The focus on the public school setting is a key part of the initiative’s goals. Many teachers will tell you that lots of wonderful “contemplative” work has been happening in small, private schools for a long time—including Montessori, Waldorf, and Quaker schools, to name a few—but for a wide-reaching impact to be made, methods must be proven effec- tive by research and free of any special be- lief system, and they must speak to needs identified by teachers and administrators. Only then can they can be adopted by the school systems that educate most of the children in America. The initiative’s new director, Patricia (Tish) Jennings, founded a Montessori school in Napa Valley, California, and trained Montessori teachers at St. Mary’s College in Moraga. She now holds a faculty research appointment at the San Francisco State University Department of Child and Adolescent Develop- ment. According to Jennings, “It’s vitally important that what we introduce in public schools is secular, not associated with any kind of religion. Scientific evidence is very important right now, because the only evidence we have at present that contempla- tive techniques work in educational settings comes from spiri- tual traditions. School districts will not and cannot blur lines between church and state. We need to be sure that the language we use is scientific and secular, and that the techniques do not require any kind of belief system to work.” When I asked Jennings, who has been meditating for thirty years, if the line between spiritual and secular was not fuzzy at times, she readily agreed. But she also said it is possible to find in secular contexts the same truths and discoveries that come out of a religious tradition such as Buddhism. For example, the work of psychologist Ellen Langer points to our propensity to overlay past knowledge on current experience, leading us to believe that things are other than what they are. In other words, it would be healthy for us to recognize that things are always changing, not solid and continu- ous. “The fact of the matter is,” she said, “that everything is impermanent, and you don’t need Buddhism to tell you that.” In a sixty-five page “mapping report” on contemplation and education, Garri- son surveyed programs that use contem- plative techniques and created detailed definitions of what is encompassed by this field. Contemplative techniques, the report said, “include attention training ABOUT THE PHOTOS: Peter Cunningham traveled to schools in Brooklyn, Harlem, Manhattan, and New Jersey in November 2005 to photograph students participating in The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, a coalition of teachers, administra- tors, academics, and writers that provides “profes- sional sustenance and hope” to literacy educators. Lucy Calkins, the project’s founding director, works with schools and school systems both at the adminis- trative level and in the classroom. “Lucy’s programs teach skills for expressing the wonder of being alive,” Cunningham says. “I have seen children in her pro- grams beg not to go out for recess so they could con- tinue writing their stories.”