"Making Cognitive Affective Learning Visible: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning via Contemplative Practice" Dr. Maureen P. Hall Assistant Professor Teaching and Learning Department School of Education, Public Policy, and Civic Engagement UMass Dartmouth
Overview of a SoTL Projects: "Investigating Contemplative Practice in Creative Writing and Education Classes: A Play (of Practice and Theory) in Three Acts” • Through my CASTL Cognitive Affective Learning affiliation, I entered into a collaborative partnership with a like-minded individual (located 3000 miles away!)
EDU 612 Teaching Elementary and Middle School Writing (at UMass Dartmouth) and Creative Writing (at St. Martin’s University) • Our common identified SoTL problem was that our students, both undergraduate and graduate, did not value themselves as writers.
What We Did: • We investigated how using reflective writing as contemplative practice affected our students’ sense of who they are as writers and as teachers of writing. • We were also interested in finding out if writing at the beginning of each class affected our students’ perspectives on their value of reflective writing as a tool for learning. • We integrated contemplative practice into our pedagogy via 2-4 common writing assignments. • We collected data from students to gauge how students experienced both the newly created assignments and the practice of contemplative/ reflective writing at the beginning of each class session.
Findings • Based the data, a total of 30 of the 32 students at the conclusion of the project valued a practice of reflective writing at the beginning of class. These 30 students had moved beyond Krathwohl’s Level One category, receiving an “awareness” of reflective writing. They also had moved beyond Krathwohl’s Level Two category since they did not just respond to the writing prompts, but, in their responses, indicated that they valued the experience, Level Three of Krathwohl’s taxonomy. • A total of 14 of the students indicated that they would like to integrate reflective writing into their lives after the course was over, Level Four in Krathwohl’s taxonomy. They internalized the experience to the degree that they wanted it within their lives after the course was over. What was unclear at the conclusion of the project was determining if students would use reflective writing consistently in their lives and commit to it as a life practice, Krathwohl’s Level Five.
Findings (continued) • When we considered the question of how this practice of reflective informed the students’ values for the need of reflection in the classroom, three distinct themes emerged in students’ explanations of why they valued it: • I) Preparing students’ minds for focused work • 2) Writing as therapy/ writing as transformation • 3) Sense of agency as writers, writing community and the need for interconnectedness.
Key Concept : Community--Personal and Professional Connections • Reading Parker Palmer’s (1998) The Courage to Teach affected my research trajectory. • Palmer talks about creating community in the spaces of teaching and learning. • This informed my dissertation study at UVA. I investigated how one teacher created a community of trust in a writing classroom. (Cognitive Affective Learning). • One important goal for each of my teaching and learning spaces is to create a community of learners. • Creating community with other professors and teachers is also very important to me.
Key Concept 4: Community (continued) • My 2005 article: “Bridging the Heart and Mind: Community as a Device for Linking Cognitive and Affective Learning” both grew out of my dissertation study and informed my work with in-service and preservice teachers. • My work since then has focused on cognitive affective learning, and how an attention to this can improve overall student learning. • I work to create community in my teaching and learning spaces, and I also find community through collaborative partnerships (With Dr. Singh, Dr. Waxler, Dr. Bergandy, and my co-author, Dr. Olivia Archibald in Washington State.
Implications for Further Research on Teaching (SoTL) and Cognitive Affective Learning • In higher education, cognitive learning is usually privileged over affective learning. Affective learning involves more than just emotions. The human brain does not separate emotions from cognitions and, without any attention given to students’ interest, motivation, appreciation, and attitudes, real and enduring learning is incomplete (Chickering, 2006; Owen-Smith, 2004). • Professors and teachers need to provide learning opportunities that privilege cognitive affective learning and utilize contemplative pedagogy to enhance and deepen student learning.
One other project... If there is time...
Project: SoTL Investigation into a Science of Kriyayoga Course: Using a Formative Evaluation for Course Improvement. • In collaboration with Dr. Bal Ram Singh, the instructor of IST 111 The Science of Kriyayoga, a collaborative SoTL project was conducted. • Dr. Singh identified the teaching “problem” in IST 111; that is, students did not understand themselves scientifically.
What We Did: • Data was collected from students in class over the course of two semesters. I collected data from students several times over the first semester this course was offered. The main question for this data collection was “To what extent and in what ways do you understand yourself in a scientific way through this course?” • Dr. Singh also collected data from students. His questions included, “Who are you?” and “What/who is your ideal?” The educator also conducted individual interviews with students which provided additional data.
New Assessment Model: • Dr. Singh and I have created a new assessment model for Cognitive Affective Learning and adapted it for this course in Indic studies. • It is called the Hall Singh Cognitive Affective Pyramid—or the Hall Singh CAP Model.
Findings • There are three distinct themes that have emerged from the data: • Body as Learning Tool • Integrated Concepts of Self—Mind and Body • Interconnectedness of All Things. • These three themes are evidenced by particular quotes, which have been culled from the data and are representative of the larger findings. • We are distilling the data through the Hall Singh CAP Model.