What Is Contemplative Education?

Contemplative Education is an integral, holistic approach to education that draws upon our innate human capacity to self-reflect and to engage in internal inquiry for the purpose of gaining insight, self-awareness and self-understanding. In contemplative education, developing the student’s reflective clarity, effortless attention, sense of purpose and similar internal aspects are given an equal importance to and are seen to balance, complement and deepen the development of their outer academic, conceptual, analytical and social understanding.

Contemplative education seeks to balance the inner and outer aspects of human learning so that inner and outer are integrated and are able to fully support one another.

The skills, attitudes and perspectives developed through practices of contemplative reflection and inquiry fully support the development of a person’s social and emotional competencies. Indeed, contemplative skills and mindsets are indispensable to fully developing the social and emotional competence of 21st century students and teachers.

Contemplative education implies a particular mindset, or view, along with associated practices that seeks to develop a broad set of internal reflective capacities that are inherent in all human beings. Developing these capacities in turn informs and deepens a broad range of additional understandings and behaviors, especially pro-social skills such as empathy, compassion, kindness and an expanded sense of self that include others and our natural environment. It is a mindset that values our inner reflective awareness and capacity as much as our outer cognitive and physical abilities and seeks to develop both together rather than emphasizing one over the other.