Artfully Aware: Contemplative Practice in the Classroom

By Jane E. Dalton.

Published by The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: June 17, 2016 $US5.00

Contemporary college students face enormous challenges to their growth as whole human beings. Increasing environmental stressors, fears about the future, and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, face the emerging adults we work with in our higher education institutions. The state of students’ minds, bodies, and emotions are central to learning. When creating a learning environment that encourages a contemplative attitude, students become receptive, open and simultaneously passive, letting information enter through sensory awareness and direct experience. Contemplative practice therefore depends on cultivating an understanding of oneself, as well as one’s relationship and interdependence of others and the world. This paper will present the interplay between the artistic experience: process, the making of art; product, the completion of an object or image and reflection, through aesthetic contemplation. These three approaches to learning through art, offers an alternative way of knowing that strengthens students’ capacity to generate a sense of calm, reduce stress, enhance focus, and cultivate self-awareness skills basic and essential to learning.

Keywords: Contemplative, Art Pedagogies, Learning, Aesthetics, Self-Inquiry

The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review, Volume 11, 2016, pp.33-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: June 17, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 705.421KB)).

Dr. Jane E. Dalton

Assistant Professor of Art Education, College of Art, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA