Heather Thomas

Doctor of Education, (Education)
Study Completed: 2020
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Pedagogies of presence: Contemplative education across the disciplines in Aotearoa New Zealand

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Contemplative education includes reflective, reflexive, and mindful teaching methods, such as journaling, dialogue, and mindfulness interventions. These methods are increasingly used at universities to enhance critical thinking, creativity, attention, compassion, ethical engagement, and wellbeing. Ms Thomas explored the use, conceptualisation, and experience of contemplative teaching, and contextual factors that have influenced its emergence. Data were collected through an extensive online survey and in-depth interviews. Participants were found in a wide range of disciplines, teaching roles, and demographic groups. The methodology developed for the study, Critical Realist Mixed Methods Sequential Explanatory Design (CRMMSE), contributes to the area of applied critical realism. This research provides the first mapping of the phenomenon of contemplative education in New Zealand and offers insight into this kind of teaching at the tertiary level.

Professor Margaret Walshaw
Dr Julia Budd
Dr Clare Mariskind