Contemplative practice in education

For the second time in the last four years I am embarking on an educational journey at St. Bonaventure University. Yesterday and today were my first classes at the Franciscan Institute. I’m taking a course called “Retrieving a Franciscan Philosophy for Social Engagement.” This class leapt out of the catalog in March and after two days I’m not surprised. Our professor, Keith Douglass Warner, OFM is an engaging friar who has put together lecture and readings that invite us to explore and retrieve an authentic Franciscan approach to social engagement. Dr. Warner is a scholar who comes from Santa Clara University in California.
Franciscan philosophy emphasizes praxis before abstraction and in this course already we have explored both contemporary and medieval models of that engagement. All of this has re-energized me with ideas about how this can help both educators and students in contemporary education.
In the past few months I’ve been reflecting on a reinvented self and a redirection of my life journey that respects and honors my own experience while at the same time reflects personal growth and an effort to bring innovative approaches to problems faced in our educational communities today.
Stress is at an all time high and it’s fracturing communities of all descriptions and especially educational ones. The old formulas and approaches aren’t working as they used to. Therefore a new approach that features principles of mindfulness, yoga and other healing practices are becoming increasingly relevant.
I wrote an essay four years ago which earned me the “Dean’s Scholarship” at St. Bonaventure University enroute to a masters degree in educational leadership. Now, I have a chance to bring that heart and theory into a practical application that unites and heals. Namaste.