1 Danish School of Education - Research Programme for Diversity, Culture and Change, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University2 Danish School of Education - Pædagogisk Psykologi, Emdrup, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University3 Institut for Uddannelse og Pædagogik, AU (forskningsassistent)4 Danish School of Education - Pædagogisk Psykologi, Emdrup, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University
How do children experience contemplative activities in everyday school life? During the past decade there have been increased reports of stress and concentration problems among school children. Furthermore the everyday life of school children is conducted across diverse contexts that expose the children to various demands, opportunities and relations. According to the growing body of knowledge contemplative education and mindfulness in education can reduce stress and concentration problems for schoolchildren (i.e. Byrnes, 2012; Flook et al., 2010; Jennings et al., 2012; Napoli, 2004). Contemplative education in this study conceptualizes the work with personal experiences of mindful sensuous activities related to the school subjects. We present and discuss results from a qualitative study of a school class (grade 5-6, children aged 11-13) through the initiation of contemplative practice and after a year. The focus is on children’s experiences of contemplative practices in relation to their wellbeing and ability to concentrate in diverse situations in their everyday life. The study aims to describe, conceptualize and analyze individual participant’s experiences as well as the situated contextual constraints, opportunities and interactions in which experience happen. We have used sensory-based interviews with children in order to obtain their sensuous experiences of contemplative activities. The theoretical approach is informed by phenomenology, cultural psychology and materiality studies (i.e. Barad, 2003; Holzkamp, 1998; Stetsenko & Arievitsch, 2004; Zahavi; 2003).