Exploring the potential of contemplative pedagogy in health professional education


  • Caroline Barratt University of Essex




contemplative pedagogy, reflection, health professional, mindfulness, compassion


Introduction: Although interest in and use of contemplative pedagogy is growing, particularly in the US, its potential to contribute to current dialogues about higher education and, in particular, the development of education for health professionals has not received much attention. The aim of this paper is to introduce contemplative pedagogy to educators working within health professional education so that the merits of such an approach can be more extensively debated.

What is contemplative pedagogy? The aim of contemplative pedagogy is the development of students’ first-person experience of knowing as a counterbalance and compliment to the objective, third-person, didactic approach, which dominates higher education. Through contemplative practice, students’ learning becomes connected to their own sense of meaning and personal values. I start by exploring the concept of contemplative pedagogy. Examples of contemplative practices are briefly introduced so that the reader can better envisage how contemplation can be introduced into the classroom.

Discussion and conclusions: I argue that contemplative pedagogy could help overcome the gap between theory and practice and assist educators in equipping students to care compassionately and effectively in dynamic and demanding healthcare contexts. I finish by emphasising the need for more research to investigate the efficacy of incorporating contemplative pedagogy in the education of health professionals. 


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How to Cite

Barratt, C. (2016). Exploring the potential of contemplative pedagogy in health professional education. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-Professional Journal, 17(2), 20–31. https://doi.org/10.11157/fohpe.v17i2.135