Current Issues In Curriculum – Spring 2016

We live in complicated times: increased connectivity, fragmentation, abundance, marginalization, violence, fear, the sacred, one world and divided worlds, threats, marvels, risks, hope, wonder! It is becoming apparent that education itself is subject to these new social, economic, political and cultural influences, pressures and realities and hence, even its purposes are being challenged. This course is intended to recognize some of these realities and to explore and reflect on how contemplative practice may help us to align with educational values,  curricular goals and pedagogical approaches that advance equity, social justice and the well-being of all.


Grounding ourselves in such questions as ‘What is curriculum?’, ‘Who is it for?’, ‘What values does it represent?’ and ‘What will it accomplish?’, we will examine the social, cultural, political, and economic connections related to curriculum in our times. We will identify and explore key influences that shape contemporary practices, and consider issues such as the connections between curriculum and power, identity, knowledge, culture, and language. We will also investigate the practice of selected pedagogical approaches in the light of shifting, and often competing discourses on learning and teaching. Our work together will be informed by evolving understandings and experience of contemplative practice, both collective and individual, seeking to apply these practices to real world issues in the classroom and community. How may these curricular and pedagogical approaches be enhanced, enriched, and transformed, even, by contemplative practice? What contribution can contemplative education make to our multiple communities and their well-being?


Students in this course will be better able to:

  • Increase awareness of and personal capacity for contemplative practice and contemplative education;
  • Be present in self and for others both in and outside of the classroom;
  • Develop capacity for interpersonal skills through listening and speaking across difference;
  • Enhance capacities to analyze and think critically;
  • Understand and be able to apply curricular approaches that are based in contemplative inquiry;
  • Become familiar with how contemplative practice can be integrated into pedagogical approaches ;
  • Use heightened insight to apply effective action in classrooms or community learning environments to advance social justice and well-being.

Professor: Dr. Kumari Beck