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Kibbutzim College of Education Pioneering Program for Contemplative Pedagogy in Teachers Training Institution

RATIONAL AND AIM

"The times - they are changing", wrote and sang Bob Dylan in the 60s. Now, in the second decade of the twenty-first century these words are again ringing true – illuminating and demanding. The predominance of digital technology and virtual social networks, culture of consumerism and entertainment industry, decline of the humanities and rise of instrumental thinking, have created new forms of alienation: alienation from oneself (body and soul) as well as from Nature, community, and culture. Moreover, the obsession with absolute efficiency and acceleration of speed has maimed valuable human capacities such as meditative thinking, critical reflection, intimate and dialogical human relations, and aesthetic appreciation. Obesity and stress as well as addiction to pain killers and antidepressants have also become more prevalent than ever – harming the physical and mental well-being of young and old alike.

These phenomena, we believe, posit for persons in the education profession new goals and new challenges. The cultivation of cognitive capacities, cultural literacies, vocational proficiencies, and civic virtues seem to be utterly insufficient in the face of the above cultural ills and forms of alienation. A new element or approach should be introduced to prevent and cure these new growth inhibiting and health endangering phenomena.

In Kibbutzim College, the largest college of education in Israel, which is also known as a leading institute for progressive education, we believe that a sound and responsible professional move in the face of the "changing times" consists in the introduction of Contemplative Pedagogy into the main stream of education in general and of teachers training in particular. In consistency with our tradition, our approach is holistic and integrative: covering wide range of elements such as mindfulness (and other forms of meditation), Yoga, Tai Chi, philosophical dialogue, poetry reading, music, and spiritual education.

The leading staff:
Yossef Ben-Asher, Dr. Lilach Naishtat-Bornstein, Prof. Nimrod Aloni