The integration of self-inquiry meditation into higher education: between philosophy and practice, beyond mindfulness, towards an embodied curriculum

Buttarazzi, Gabriella Filomena (2020) The integration of self-inquiry meditation into higher education: between philosophy and practice, beyond mindfulness, towards an embodied curriculum. EdD thesis, University of Nottingham.

[img] PDF (Thesis - as examined) - Repository staff only - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (36MB)


The integration of meditation and other contemplative practices in higher education contexts generates debate as to whether it should be understood as serving merely instrumentalist aims or as having intrinsic educational value. This thesis contributes to that discussion through a two-part literature review, covering first the origins of meditation and then the evidence-base underpinning the integration of meditation in higher education. It also examines the role of the body in sense-making and taking an integral approach to the integration of meditative practices into higher education. The position adopted here is that it is necessary to engage with embodied, traditional and authentic conceptualisations of meditation to offer students a deeper and more meaningful/transformative experience. The instrumentalist aim of much research in this field has implied a positivistic focus on measurable outcomes, which this thesis proposes are valuable and revealing, but often also limited in being able to capture subtle, phenomenological first-person student experiences.

This qualitative study was designed to evaluate an elective course that integrates two meditation practices and a range of written critical reflection practices that was made available to undergraduate students at the Chinese campus of a British university. The study draws on action research principles and employs multiple-methods, including reflective writing tasks, field notes, structured interviews and internet-mediated information gathering. The approach offered students ample opportunity to offer critical first-person reflections, both to improve ongoing course design and illuminate understanding the connection between meditation, personal change and daily-life integration. Data was gathered from three groups of 20 students over a period of 18 months. The findings indicate that the meditation practices and other elements of the course were well-received. Students reported significant personal change and newfound knowledge, an outcome warranting further investment and research.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (EdD)
Supervisors: Adamson, Bob
Keywords: self-inquiry meditation, mindfulness, higher education, contemplative pedagogy, embodied curriculum, action research
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Faculties/Schools: UNNC Ningbo, China Campus > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Education
Item ID: 60008
Depositing User: Gabriella, Buttarazzi
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2020 02:04
Last Modified: 12 May 2022 08:50

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View