Mindfulness is a dynamic mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. It is a secular practice compatible with most non-violent values and beliefs. Contemplative practices, including mindfulness, as approaches to teaching, deep reflection and learning can foster: 

  • Enhanced attention and concentration
  • Improved ability to manage stress, tension, and anxiety
  • More self-acceptance and improved relationship with others
  • More skilful handling thoughts, moods, and emotions
  • Better insights into oneself, others and the world

The Centre for Academic Practice is pleased to announce continuation in 2017-18 of a variety of opportunities for students and staff to benefit from contemplative practices, including mindfulness meditation. This takes the form of short in-class mindfulness meditations for students, drop-in sessions over lunch every Tuesday and Thursday, 8-week mindfulness foundation courses, and several introductory sessions to these courses.



To enhance the student and staff experience of learning and teaching and provide all QMU staff and students with opportunities to experience the benefits of contemplative practices.

Rationale for the programme

Why offer opportunities to meditate at a QMU? The Student Experience Strategy focuses on:

  1. enabling all students to have a transformative experience
  2. student-centred learning and engagement
  3. communities where students can flourish

Contemplative practices enable these aims to be met through:

  1. developing affective, contemplative and relational perspectives: An ‘epistemology of love’ (Zajonc 2006)

  2. fostering different ways of knowing and deep learning that result in meaningful understanding and application

  3. fostering an understanding of interconnectedness and wholeness.

There is also a growing interest in meditative practices in higher education, including mindfulness, and their potential role in alleviating stress as well as enhancing learning and work.  At QMU we are fortunate to have an open-minded community of staff and students and CAP is supported in this initiative by Senior Management, the Student Union, Student Services, the Effective Learning Services, and many others.

Opportunities to participate

Conference: Coming to our senses: embedding contemplative pedagogy in higher education. A four day symposium for educators.

Drop-in session: These sessions take place over lunch time, 12:15-13:15 on Tuesday and Thursdays. The Tuesday sessions are currently facilitated by Dr Avinash Bansode from www.mindfullybeing.co.uk. The Thursday sessions are self-led or facilitated by Dr Iddo Oberski from the Centre of Academic Practice. Both Dr Avinash and Dr Obersk have many years of experience as meditators and facilitators of meditation.

How to book: No need to book. The sessions are scheduled on the academic timetable.  It is listed under the  MODULE: MINDFULNESS DROP IN SESSIONS
Cost: No charge to attend.

Taster sessions: these allow you to get an idea of what's involved in the 8-week foundation courses. They'll take place on dates to be confirmed, from 11:15-12:15. Room numbers will be confirmed after booking your place. Note that these sessions will only run in the first semester as we run the full course during semester two.
 Book online
Cost: No charge to attend the taster session

 8-week foundation course: The 8-week course provides a solid foundation for your own meditation practices. If you are new to meditation and want to be supported in developing a regular practice, then this is the course for you. If you already have your own practice, then the course will help you deepen it. It aims to assist you in dealing with what can be stressful and challenging for you and helps you to take better care of yourself and get the most out of your life.

The aim of the programme is to learn new ways to handle challenging physical sensations, feelings, moods or social interactions and apply this to both work and study. The course is mostly practical with daily practice homework and some basic recommended reading. There’s no academic credit associated with the course, but you will receive a certificate of attendance. The fee is heavily subsidised (normal price around £250) so make sure you book early (payment required to confirm your place).
 Book online (to avoid additional fees, payment is not made online and you will be provided payment instruction separately by email after registering.
Cost: STUDENTS: £65.  STAFF: £90(Please speak with your line-manager before signing up, as they may be able to cover the cost through staff development funds.) 

.b (pronounced Dot-Bee) course: Dr Iddo Oberski will offer this introductory course to mindfulness during semester one. This course consists of a total of ten weekly sessions of 50 min. on Tuesdays at 11:15. You will learn about mindfulness through a weekly presentation. You will experience a range of mindfulness practices to help you in your studies and life. 
 Book online
Cost: No charge to attend the .b course.

Participant comments

"Feel calmer. More honest with myself and more accepting of myself"

"I now practice mindfulness every day and find it has helped me de-stress and become a more effective teacher"

"I have only had really positive benefits from doing the course, my concentration and focus has improved which has enabled me to study so much more effectively. I am also calmer and more thoughtful in my day to day life, particularly in stressful situations where I am much more able to take a step back and make more rational decisions."

"I found it very useful and have recommended that my classmates sign up for the course should there be another one. I was pleasantly surprised by the contemplative practice and practical application rather than theory based classes."

"I practised mindfulness years ago so was really delighted to see it being offered at QMU. The silent day was such a special day, I actually get emotional writing about it, the bond and trust our group [...] had was so strong"


Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives

Professor David Levy, University of Washington in Seattle, USA.

Recorded at QMU on Monday, 16 May 2016, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM.

Contemplative practices in higher education . The power of mindfulness in the classroom

This paper explores the experience of implementing a 10 week program of Mindful
Meditation Practice in the classroom at an Irish higher education institution, Dublin Business School.

Mindfulness present, celebrating humaness, learning to flourish | Iddo Oberski | TEDxQMU

TEDxQMU talk on Contemplative Practices in Higher education, by Dr Iddo Oberski, Centre for Academic Practice at QMU

Prof David Kahane, Alberta University, Canada

Recorded at QMU on 25 May 2012: 9am-2:15 pm

References of interest

ALTOBELLO, R., 2007. Concentration and Contemplation: A Lesson in Learning to Learn. Journal of Transformative Education. October 01, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 354-371.

BARBEZAT, D. and BUSH, M., 2014. Contemplative practices in higher education : powerful methods to transform teaching and learning / Daniel P. Barbezat, Mirabai Bush ; foreword by Parker J. Palmer ; afterword by Arthur Zajonc. San Francisco, CA : Jossey-Bass, a Wiley brand, 2014]; First edition.

BRIGHT, J. and PAKORNY, H., 2012. Contemplative practices in Higher Education: Breathing heart and mindfulness into the staff and student experience. Educational Developments. December 2012, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 22-3.

BYRNES, K., 2012. A Portrait of Contemplative Teaching: Embracing Wholeness. Journal of Transformative Education. January 01, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 22-41.

ERGAS, O., 2015. The Deeper Teachings of Mindfulness-Based Interventions as a Reconstruction of Education? Journal of Philosophy of Education. vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 203-220.

ERGAS, O., 2013. Two Mind-Altering Curriculums: Contemplation, Mindfulness, and the Educational Question Whether “To Think or Not to Think?”. Journal of Transformative Education. 10, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 275-296.

FERRARI, M. and WESTSTRATE, N.M., 2013. The Scientific Study of Personal Wisdom [electronic resource] : From Contemplative Traditions to Neuroscience. Dordrecht : Springer.

GUNNLAUGSON, O., 2011. Advancing a Second-Person Contemplative Approach for Collective Wisdom and Leadership Development. Journal of Transformative Education. January 01, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 3-20.

HART, T., 2008. Interiority and Education: Exploring the Neurophenomenology of Contemplation and Its Potential Role in Learning. Journal of Transformative Education. October 01, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 235-250.

HART, T., 2004. Opening the Contemplative Mind in the Classroom. Journal of Transformative Education. January 01, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 28-46.

HEESOON BAI, S., SARATH, E.W. and SCOTT, C., 2014. Contemplative learning and inquiry across disciplines. Albany : State University of New York Press 2014.

HYLAND, T., 2015. On the Contemporary Applications of Mindfulness: Some Implications for Education. Journal of Philosophy of Education. vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 170-186.

OBERSKI, I., MURRAY, S., GOLDBLATT, J. and DEPLACIDO, C., 2015. Contemplation and Mindfulness in Higher Education. In: P.C. LAYNE and P. LAKE eds., Global innovation of teaching and learning in higher education: transgressing boundaries. Cham: Springer, pp. 317-23.

OBERSKI, I. 2012. Supporting and developing the curriculum by putting contemplation back into HE: enhancing students' attention and effectiveness. Enhancement Themes Newsletter 7(1), 4-5.

O'DONNELL, A., 2015. Contemplative Pedagogy and Mindfulness: Developing Creative Attention in an Age of Distraction. Journal of Philosophy of Education. vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 187-202.

O'REILLEY, M.R., 1998. Radical presence : teaching as contemplative practice / Mary Rose O'Reilley ; [foreword by Parker J. Palmer]. Portsmouth, NH : Boynton/Cook Publishers : Heinemann, c1998.

SHAPIRO, S.L., BROWN, K.W. and ASTIN, J.A., 2011. Toward the integration of meditation into Higher Education: A review of research. Teachers College Record. vol. 113, no. 3, pp. 493-528.

SONG, K.Y. and MUSCHERT, G.W., 2014. Opening the Contemplative Mind in the Sociology Classroom. Humanity & Society. 08, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 314.

ZAJONC, A., 2009. Meditation as contemplative inquiry : when knowing becomes love / Arthur Zajonc. Great Barrington, Mass. : Lindisfarne Books, 2009.

ZAJONC, A.,. (2013). Contemplative pedagogy: A quiet revolution in higher education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2013(134), 83-94.


Contemplative Practices, Mindfulness and Meditation Enquiries

If you are interested in attending a mindfulness course or looking for more information, please get in touch.

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Contemplative Practices, Mindfulness and Meditation Enquiries

Dr Iddo Oberski
0131 474 0000
Mindfulness participant comment
“Feel calmer. More honest with myself and more accepting of myself”
“I now practice mindfulness every day and find it has helped me de-stress and become a more effective teacher”