IWL Roundtable - Cara Gorman, Emily Scida, Ran Zhao - February 19

Event Date: 
02/19/2016 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm
Location: 
Wilson Hall 133

Presenters: Cara Goman, Emily Scida, Ran Zhao

Title: The effect of contemplative practices on second language learning

Jan Chozen Bays, author of How to Train a Wild Elephant And Other Adventures in Mindfulness,quotes Buddha, who says that an untrained mind can be like a wild elephant: without proper training, it runs amok, trampling crops and causing all kinds of damage in its wake. It might flee from the present moment or even attack when frightened. 

For students, the "wild elephant" inside can translate to foreign language anxiety, lack of focus, worry and stress -- all of which inhibit learning. Instructors likewise may feel scattered, unfocused or overwhelmed, both inside and outside the classroom. 

So how do you train your wild elephant? This session will introduce some of our favorite contemplative practices, which aim to reduce anxiety and increase mindful awareness. These techniques can be used by instructors and shared with students to "train the wild elephant" inside each of our minds so we are more calm, steady and ready to learn, teach or get through the day.  We will also share with you our experiences using contemplative practices in foreign language courses, and the results of a grant project which showed a significant effect on classroom climate and positive affect as well as higher exam grades for students enrolled in the contemplative classes as compared to the control groups of SPAN 2020.