The Embodied Mind: Mindfulness Meditation as Experiential Learning in Adult Education

Francesconi, Denis (2010) The Embodied Mind: Mindfulness Meditation as Experiential Learning in Adult Education. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

PDF - Doctoral Thesis


The focus of the thesis is on i) theoretically investigating how meditation and education can work together, and ii) empirically studying the educational and cognitive effects of meditation on adult subject, with special regard to the subjective experience description. In concrete, it is my intention here to assess the value of mindfulness meditation in terms of changes in the so-called ‘first-person perspective’ (FPP), that is how meditation affects the self-perception and self-description in expert and beginner meditators. Indeed, through a qualitative study I will assess the educational outcomes of a two months long period of meditation in terms of self-perception and experience description skills on healthy adults, both beginners and experts. The structure of the thesis is the follow. In the first chapter I will consider the theoretical framework on which my thesis is based on. In particular I will present a short overview of the encounter of phenomenological tradition and cognitive sciences during the last decade of the XXth Century, an encounter that has produced the so-called ‘Embodied Theory’. I will especially discuss the themes of consciousness and body consciousness that are fundamental for my thesis. Another short overview is presented about meditation tradition and, especially, about what mindfulness meditation is and where it comes from. The second chapter is dedicated to present how mindfulness meditation practice affects the person. Considering the utility for a pedagogical discourse to evaluate the neuroscientific and cognitive aspects of meditation, we will discuss the main effects of meditation on the brain and the mind; then, I will discuss how meditation fits with phenomenological pedagogical theory and practice, and how it can be considered as a form of experiential education, with special regard to adult education. Then, in the third chapter, the results of a qualitative study on self-perception and body perception will be presented and discussed. Finally, in the fourth one, some general conclusions will be outlined about the educational value of meditation, and some suggestions and critics will be outlined with regard to the didactic and teaching programs of meditation courses.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Psychological Sciences and Education
Subjects:Area 11 - Scienze storiche, filosofiche, pedagogiche e psicologiche > M-PED/01 PEDAGOGIA GENERALE E SOCIALE
Repository Staff approval on:14 Jun 2011 17:18

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